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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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News: UK workers put in £157.2bn of unpaid overtime each year


UK workers are now putting in around £157.2 billion per year in unpaid overtime every year, with two thirds experiencing soaring stress levels as a result.

According to a survey conducted by hotel chain Travelodge, one in ten employees are now cramming in the equivalent of an entire week’s extra work on top of their assigned hours.
A further third are working for an additional 16 hours per week simply to manage their workload and keep the boss happy.
But this apparently rampant overtime culture means that the average staff member is now at their desk for an extra 9.1 hours every week without seeing any renumeration for it. The figure equates to about £5,276.18 per individual per year in unpaid overtime.
Unsurprisingly as a result of all of this, stress levels are steepily on the rise, with 31% of those questioned saying that they sometimes found it difficult to get through the working week.
Corinne Sweet, a psychologist and author of ‘Change Your Life with CBT’, said that the research was a wake-up call for employees to switch off their gadgets and make sure that they got away from the “clutter, pressure and stress” of working life.
“Cramming an extra week’s worth of work into an average week shows danger signs of us becoming a nation of workaholics, heading for serious psychological and physical burnout,” she added.
But the study revealed that two out of five employees regularly worked at home in the evenings. A further third put in extra hours over the weekend to stay on top of things, which meant that they spent less than six hours relaxing.
To make matters worse, one in five admitted to checking email as soon as they woke up in the morning, while 13% woke up regularly in the middle of the night to do so.
One in ten even interrupted conversations with their loved ones to check their in-boxes, while more than half admitted to having missed a family occasion due to their work commitments.
Job insecurity and heavy workloads likewise meant that 37% of respondents were choosing not to go on long holidays any more, but were opting for shorter, so-called ‘nightcation’ or one night breaks instead.

One Response

  1. This needs to end!

    To put simply…This is crazy. Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves? I think we’ve gotten too used to this I will work another 2 hours and know I want get paid for it culture. I guess we fear for our jobs and don’t want to let other people down. 

    How many of us are schuduled to finish work at 5.30 but find ourselves staying until 5.50 not because our work permits us too, but so that we feel safe in our job security. Isn’t that sad? The sooner this changes the better.

    Nathan Pearson – Smith

    Twitter: @NathanPearsonWH

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Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett

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