Most Britons work extra hours

Aug 02 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

A survey from internet bank Intelligent Finance (IF) claims that three-quarters of Britons are working more hours than their contracts state and half say that this is having a detrimental effect on their family life.

The survey comes only a week after a report by The Work Foundation claimed that most people were happy with their jobs and the hours they work. “Britain’s long hours problem is exaggerated,” it said. “Much long hours working is voluntary and many people enjoy putting in the time and effort.”

The IF survey of 1,000 people found that almost one in five – 18 per cent - worked more than 48 hours a week while four per cent said they put in more than 60 hours.

Half also said that they regularly work during the weekend and after their working day is supposed to have ended. More than one in four often work through their lunch break one in three take work home with them.

The problems caused by long hours include spending less time with children, and sleep, dietary and lifestyle difficulties.

Almost four out of ten said that work affected their sleep, while a third felt that it affected their diet and forced them to eat more convenience food and takeaways. One in three felt that work often stopped them going to the gym.

The figures echo research carried out for Men's Health magazine earlier this year that found that men in particular are neglecting their health because of work. This is despite the fact that over half of men think that having enough time to exercise regularly improves their productivity.

But half those questioned by IF had spent time away from their partner because of long hours and a fifth also said it was not always possible to get home in time to tuck their children up in bed, rising to more than four out of ten for those with children aged under five.

One in five even thought their long working hours prevented them from managing their finances effectively.

Four out of ten men and one in three women felt they worked harder than their boss, while one in three men also thought they worked harder than their partner.

But the majority of people thought their hard work paid off in terms of career progression. Almost six out of ten said they were rewarded with praise and recognition, while four out of ten said they received monetary rewards and that they put in paid off in terms of career progression.

Women were slightly more likely to feel they were rewarded with praise and recognition than men, but were less likely to receive monetary rewards.

But one in five people told the IF pollsters that they did not feel they were rewarded for their hard work, echoing The Work Foundation’s claim that around 400,000 Britons are "wage slaves", earning less than £16,000 a year for working more than 60 hours a week.