Nearly three-quarters (73.4%) of the professionals who responded to the 2014 Morgan McKinley UK Working Hours Survey say they are working longer than the hours stipulated in their contracts.
Naturally, among a committed and highly professional workforce, this is always likely to be the case. More than half of respondents say that they are more productive outside of their contracted hours and this is likewise to be expected: meetings tend to be organised during office working hours and we all know that we can get more done when we can shut out distractions and focus on important challenges and priorities.
However, just under three-quarters (74.1%) say that these excessive working hours are having some impact, or a major impact, on their work-life balance. Two-thirds of our respondents feel obliged, or very obliged, to work in excess of their contracted hours.
Our survey also shows that more than half of organisations offer opportunities to work from home or to work flexible hours, so it is likely that if other organisations were to introduce similar practices, pressures on the work-life balance could be reduced without damaging – and probably increasing – productivity.
Moreover, the people who work the longest hours are, as one might expect, those in more senior positions and those in the 41-50 and 51-60 age brackets, by which time the pressures of parenting may have eased a little! On average men are working slightly longer hours than women, according to our survey. Among men, the percentage working more than their contracted hours is 76.1%, compared to 67% of women.
I hope you enjoy reading the detailed report. If you have any thoughts on current working hours and work-life balance in professional occupations in the United Kingdom, we would be very interested in hearing from you.