Four in 10 British adults admit they ‘cannot leave work alone’, poll claims

Only three per cent leave  office on time every day

Emma Elsworthy
Thursday 02 January 2020 20:03 GMT

Britain is a nation of workaholics, with four in 10 adults admitting they cannot leave work alone.

A study of 2,000 office workers found one in six frequently spends more than 11 hours a week working when they are away from the office, checking emails and making calls.

And while almost half say they enjoy their work, 65 per cent hate the fact they’re constantly taking it home with them.

Incredibly, just three per cent of those polled leave on time every day – and don’t need to take on additional work.

Never taking a lunch break, working on weekends and always being the last one to leave the office were identified as signs of a workaholic.

Ignoring the family, feeling anxious about not working and seeing the boss more than a partner also feature in the top 20 list.

Geoffrey Dennis, chief executive of Spana, which provides free veterinary treatment to working animals in developing countries and commissioned the research, said: “It’s clear workers in Britain have a strong work ethic and often put in long hours, going beyond the call of duty for their employers.

“However, most of us are fortunate that, despite the daily grind, we do have adequate annual leave, lunch breaks and weekends away from work.

“Sadly, it’s a very different story for working animals overseas.

”Day-in, day-out, these animals work in punishing conditions, often carrying backbreaking loads, with no holidays, retirement or the rest they need.”

The study also found a third of people in Britain think they would be considered a workaholic by others.

More than a quarter of those polled have experienced waking up in the middle of the night thinking about work, with one in five admitting to checking their emails in bed.

A third also check their emails as soon as they wake up – with 57 per cent taking a sneaky peak across the weekend, and 30 per cent checking them throughout the night.

About one in 10 have also admitted to taking a work call at an inappropriate time such as a wedding, funeral or even during sex.

Despite attempting to spend quality time with those closest to them, one in five adults will take a work call or check emails while they’re with their nearest and dearest.

Unable to leave work alone, 16 per cent admitted they can’t eat a meal without checking emails and as a result of working so hard, one in five have suffered a health problem.

Last-minute demands, peace of mind knowing a task is done and employers dishing out unreasonable workloads are among the most common reasons for staying late at work.

And nearly a quarter will work that little bit extra simply to avoid issues with their boss.

After all the hard work, many agreed that it has taken its toll on their relationships – with one in five prioritising work over their personal life.

Interestingly, just over 30 per cent think the work they do is worth the sacrifices they make at home.

Showing next level commitment, one in four admitted they would put their own health at risk to complete a work task – though 66 per cent said impacting their health for a job is simply one step too far.

Despite all this effort, nearly half of respondents said they don’t think the additional hours they put in each week would benefit their career progression.

Geoffrey Dennis of Spana added: “Being overworked can clearly have some very negative consequences, impacting everything from mental and physical health to quality of relationships.

“Many workers are showing real dedication and hard graft, and it’s not without sacrifices.

“Thankfully, there is an increasing focus on work-life balance, and a recognition that taking time to reset and recover is beneficial all round.”


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