When it comes to understanding the typical work schedule of a consultant, it's important to note that a 1-hour lunch break is not included. Research conducted by Consultancy, United Kingdom, suggests that consultants usually work between 50 and 80 hours a week in order to meet the demands of their role. This number can vary depending on the length of the contract. For long-term commitments, I have never worked more than 40 to 50 hours a week.
On the other hand, short-term tiger teams can sometimes require more than 80 hours of work. It is important to choose projects wisely in order to achieve a healthy work-life balance in this notoriously intense work environment. In an effort to promote a better work-life balance, some consulting firms and local offices have implemented the “one night off a week” policy. This allows consultants time to dedicate themselves to their personal interests or to rest. Additionally, improved project resource management allows for better planning and monitoring of workloads, helping consultants avoid burnout. Clients often expect consultants to adapt to their own work culture (for example, 80 hours a week at the bank or working on weekends), be always available, and travel abroad for meetings.
However, these policies are not always effective in addressing the issue of excess consulting hours. It is also beneficial for consultants to find projects that best suit their unique skills in order to generate the best return on investment (ROI). Consultants are not on call for their clients and since project plans are set by teams of consultants, big milestones and meetings are known well in advance. Research has found that when consultants receive domestic help with tasks such as cleaning and laundry, it can actually make it easier for them to work longer hours. It is also important for consultants to pay attention to certain points in order to be as efficient as possible while managing time-consuming work. In consulting firms, multiple organizational backgrounds can lead to longer consulting hours, increased conflicts between work and personal life, and an increased risk of burnout. From my point of view, this means working from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm with Fridays ending from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
It also means feeling that every hour spent working is directly related to the impact of the project. McKinsey, Bain, and BCG are known for having heavier work schedules than Big4 and other consulting firms. However, there are significant differences between regions. In the United Kingdom, an important step is challenging the normalization of long hours of consultation with people at all levels of the organization. To sum up, it is essential to consider if one is asking how many hours a consultant works per week or how many hours they actually spend at work when looking into this topic. It is also important for consultants to choose projects wisely in order to achieve a healthy work-life balance and find projects that best suit their unique skills in order to generate the best return on investment (ROI).