UK employees working more hours for free

Do you find yourself regularly working on a project or task outside your normal hours? Or answering emails on a weekend? You’re not alone.

A new survey has revealed just how skewed the work-life balance of the average UK employee is today.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of professionals who responded to the latest Morgan McKinley UK Working Hours Survey admit they are working longer than the hours stipulated in their contracts.

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Hakan Enver, operations director of Morgan McKinley UK, said: “More than half of respondents say they are more productive outside of their contracted hours and this is likewise to be expected: meetings tend to be organised during normal office hours and we all know that we can get more done when we can shut out any distractions in order to focus on important challenges and priorities.”

However, just under three-quarters (74%) say that these excessive working hours are having some impact, or a major impact, on their work-life balance, and the overwhelming majority are unaware of any plans to change working in their organisation.

Two-thirds of respondents feel obliged, or very obliged, to work in excess of their contracted hours.

The survey also shows that more than half of organisations offer opportunities to work from home or to work flexible hours. “Our feeling is that if more organisations introduced similar working practices, this would not only reduce pressure on work life balance, but also increase, rather than damage productivity.” said Enver.

The people who work the longest hours are, as one might expect, those in more senior positions and those in the 41-50 and 51-60 age brackets.

The survey also suggests that on average, men are working slightly longer hours than women. Among men, the percentage working more than their contracted hours is 76.1%, compared to 67% of women. “This may however simply reflect the fact that there is a rather higher proportion of men in more senior roles,” suggested Enver.

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