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Job insecurity exacerbates ‘long hours business culture’, according to survey of 2,700 staff


Almost half of workers in the UK work well over eight hours every day, over a third put in nine to 11 hours and a tenth work more than 11 hours, according to Regus.

This evidence of long working hours is revealed by global survey findings from Regus, a provider of flexible workplaces, canvassing the opinions of over 2,700 business people across the UK.

Pressure on working hours has become more acute because of the economic downturn and growing concerns over job security, with staff eager to get the job done whatever the personal cost and be seen as productive by their employer.

According to the report, 46% of professionals work seven to nine hours per day, 36% nine to 11 hours and 10% over 11 hours. For many, the working day is not over when they leave the office. Over two-fifths of workers (43%) take work home to finish in the evening at least three times a week.

Men are more likely to work nine to 11 hours per day than women (40% compared to 24%) and also take work home more frequently (47% and 31% respectively), reflecting the fact that women are more often employed as part-time or flexible workers.

The Regus report shows remote workers tend to work longer than employees who are based in a fixed office location, suggesting that the benefit of a shorter commute often translates into higher productivity. More than one in 10 (14%) of remote workers put in over eleven hours per day and two-thirds (62%) take work home regularly.

Celia Donne, regional director at Regus, said: "As the UK struggles with ongoing economic difficulties, firms of all sizes are under immense pressure in a difficult market and this often leads to staff working even longer hours than usual.

"But the CIPD reports that workload is the top cause for stress and our new report finds that the distinction between work and home life is becoming increasingly blurred. The long-term effects of over-work could be damaging both to workers' health and to overall productivity as workers drive themselves too hard and become disaffected, depressed or even physically ill."

Clare Kelliher, professor of work and organisation at Cranfield School of Management, added: "Our research at Cranfield has also found that work has become more intense for many workers in recent years, and that in particular those that work remotely often put in longer hours. In some cases, workloads are such that staff have no choice but to work extra hours to get the job done.

"In the case of remote workers, who are working either at home or from a location closer to home, their days are more productive because they have avoided what may be a long and stressful commute but also because they are removed from the day-to-day distractions of the workplace which allows them to be more focused. We have also found that many workers from the flexible and remote workforce are grateful to their employers for allowing them a degree of choice in where and when they do their work, and so reciprocate by putting in extra effort."