Consulting is a highly demanding job, and research by Consultancy, United Kingdom, shows that consultants usually work between 50 and 80 hours a week to meet the requirements of their role. It all depends on the length of the contract; for long-term commitments, I never worked more than 40 to 50 hours a week. On the other hand, short-term tiger teams may require more than 80 hours of work. To maintain a healthy work-life balance, it is important to choose projects wisely.
Many companies have implemented policies to reduce the negative effects of long consulting hours and lack of work-life balance. However, these policies are not always effective in addressing the problem of excessive consulting hours, which means that consultants still run the risk of burnout. The hours also depend on the type of project; on average, shorter projects require longer hours, with extreme due diligence and last-minute proposals. Clients often expect consultants to adapt to their own work culture (for example, 80 hours a week in banking or working on weekends), to be always available, and to travel abroad for meetings. Boutique advisory firms have the highest proportion of consultants who don't work overtime (33%), and the average overtime per week is also the lowest among other business services. The impact of long consulting hours on employees' physical and mental health is detrimental to individuals and companies.
In the United Kingdom, it is important to challenge the normalization of long hours of consultation with people at all levels of the organization. Consultants at boutique firms do slightly better, with only 67% working beyond their contract consulting hours. At the end of the day, if it really takes many hours for the project to be successful, I put my seatbelt on and I do it because I work as a team.