Staff in the UK are accustomed to working long hours, and while this level of productivity may be a source of pride to some, others believe there is a risk that overworking can be damaging to family life and even to our health.
In response to this, the charity Working Families has declared today “Go Home on Time Day” in a bid to encourage busy working parents to spend some time in the evening with their families.
They believe that this will not only have a positive impact on children growing up in working households, but will also prove beneficial for workers’ stress levels and help to encourage a more positive work/life balance throughout the UK as a whole.
A survey conducted by the charity this year found that less than half of parents managed to tear themselves away from their desk on time, with 9 per cent admitting that this never happened.
Of the 70 per cent who claimed to have worked late regularly in the past 12 months, most blamed the pressure of their workload which had risen dramatically since the end of the recession.
However, more worryingly, over 50 per cent of those surveyed said that a “culture” of late nights had become established in their workplace, with their employers increasingly expecting them to stay later and later in the evening.
It is hardly surprising, then, that almost a quarter of respondents noted a “constant conflict” between their working hours and their family time.
Chief executive officer of the Youth Hostel Association, Caroline White, admits that she often finds work cutting into her leisure time in the evenings or at weekends.
“I think I’m supposed to do a 38 hour week, and I get 30 days holiday a year, but I probably work about 40 to 45 hours then I have a lot of travelling on top of that – often working on the train,” she told the Guardian.
“You’re paid a good salary as a chief executive, so working late is part of the job.
“All chief executives are workaholics really, I think.”
According to various studies, British workers put in longer hours at the office than the majority of our European counterparts, which medical experts have linked to increasing numbers of mental health and stress related conditions including heart disease and high blood pressure. Unfortunately, however, it seems that this culture is in fact pointless, or even counter-productive, as longer working hours do not increase productivity at all.
The question, then, is why so many British workers remain in the office much later than previous generations, for whom the standard 9 to 5 working day was relatively established?
For many, it seems that the legacy of the recession is a constant concern over job security – something which must be addressed in order to protect both the mental and physical health of the nation’s workforce.
Do you tend to stay late at the office most nights and will you leave on time today?
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