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Nearly half of Britons work more than contracted hours every day, survey claims

From relationship problems to increased stress levels, working overtime is having a detrimental effect on employees' lives 

Rob Knight
Monday 11 February 2019 19:23 GMT
A quarter of the survey's respondents said they feel pressured by their boss to work longer hours
A quarter of the survey's respondents said they feel pressured by their boss to work longer hours (Getty/iStock)

Almost half of cent of British employees work outside of their contracted hours for over an hour every day including weekends, a survey has claimed.

Researchers, who polled 2,000 people, found that 45 per cent of those who worked extra hours did so because they have too much to do.

A quarter said they felt pressured by their boss to work for longer, and 18 per cent feared they might lose their job otherwise.

Over 20 per cent of those surveyed said they felt that this extra work has negatively affected their health and family life and over 40 per cent said it caused them to feel more stressed.

One in 10 said they had faced relationship problems because of their work commitments.

“The research shows just how important it is to have balance in life," said Chieu Cao, the co-founder of employee experience platform Perkbox, which commissioned the research. “While it’s great to see so many of us dedicated to our jobs, the impact this is having on our wellbeing because we’re taking it to the extreme is worrying.

“With Valentine’s Day approaching, the findings serve as a stark reminder about priorities – and of course, our partners should be right up there. So if your other half has slipped down the pecking order because of your workload, perhaps this will be the perfect time to re-address this.”

The survey also found 52 per cent of respondents believed advances in technology had directly led to an increase in the number of us working longer than contracted.

Whether it be by text, email or phone, seven in 10 said they have been contacted about work-related matters by their boss or colleagues outside of work hours.

A quarter said they spent more time messaging their boss and work colleagues than they do their own friends.

Twenty-three per cent of those polled said they often check work emails at home, while around a fifth did admin and one in 10 will prepare reports in their free time.

Three in 10 said they felt like they are always at work – even when they are at home. The same proportion said they were regularly kept awake at night thinking about their job.

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A fifth said their working habits have meant they had not always taken all their allocated annual leave.

But 26 per cent said they had complained to their boss about all the additional work they feel obliged to do. One third said their social life had been affected, as well as their energy levels (40 per cent) and their diet (26 per cent).

One third of those polled have left a job because they had too much work.

Chieu Cao added: “As employers, we need to change certain work practices. We need to start managing people based on their outputs, leading by example and empowering them to make their own decisions. Our objective should no longer be keeping employees engaged at work, it should be catering for their entire employee experience, so they feel fulfilled inside and outside of it.”


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