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Aviva: UK employees put in 26 million unpaid hours per day

UK workers are putting in 26 million extra hours in the workplace each day, according to new research from Aviva.

Aviva's latest Health of the Workplace Report shows six in ten employees regularly work beyond their contracted hours, putting in an average of 1.5 hours 'overtime' a day. Nearly one in four employees (23%) claim they work an extra 2-3 hours daily.

The vast majority (79%) of these hours are unpaid, which means workers are providing around worth £225 million of 'free' hours each day for employers.

As a result of these extra hours, the health of the UK's workforce is suffering. More than a quarter (27%) report they feel tired all the time, 23% say they feel really stressed, 15% admit that their diet is suffering as they eat junk food and 9% need to smoke or drink to unwind.

Fewer than one in five (18%) report that they still have a good work/life balance in spite of these extra hours.

And only one in five (18%) say they work longer for the love of the job. Most extra hours are put in because employees claim they have too much work (41%) or because they want to give a good impression to the boss (20%).

Staff are adopting a number of strategies to squeeze in these extra hours:

· 37% work in the evenings after their contracted hours

· 28% come in early to get a head start

· 16% put in hours at the weekend

· One in 10 (11%) even admit to working late at night when unable to sleep.

Douglas Wright, head of clinical development for Aviva says: "Most employers make great efforts to look after their workers and ensure they get a good work / life balance. In fact our study showed that this is a top priority for a third of employers over the next 12 months so they may be very surprised to see how some employees are struggling to manage their workloads.

"Working excessively can have a huge impact on people's mental and physical wellbeing, so anyone who feels they might have a problem, should speak to their manager to address the matter before it becomes a bigger issue. Six per cent of workers actually report they have been off sick as a result of overworking, so it's very much in employers and employees' interests to nip any such problems in the bud."