How do working patterns differ across London, the South West and the Home Counties?

Morgan McKinley 07.11.2019

Historically, working in London has been synonymous with long days and high levels of pressure, whilst working in other areas of the UK was considered more relaxed. Is this still the case, or as employment patterns have developed to be more flexible, is the link between location and working patterns now less distinct?

Working patterns of professionals

Our comprehensive Working Hours and Flexibility survey had more than 1,500 respondents from across our core areas of expertise; Accounting & Finance, Compliance, Financial Services Operations, HR, Internal Audit, IT, Legal, Marketing, Office Support, Projects & Change Management, Public Practice, Risk Management, Sales, Supply Chain & Procurement and Tax, spanning financial services, professional services and commerce & industry. 

Working Hours across different regions of the UK

Unsurprisingly, London has the highest proportion of professionals with contracts stating they should be working more than 43 hours each week. Surprisingly, the South West had the largest percentage of employees who tend to work additional hours beyond their contracts - Bristol and the South West also topped the list (by some distance) in terms of professionals being regularly available on mobile devices outside core working hours. According to our data, it seems that the South West is the hardest working  out of these three regions.

Click on the images below to view infographics outlining our findings about the differing working hours of professionals based in London, the South West and the Home Counties.

London working hours infographic

South West working hours infographic

Home Counties working hours infographic

Availability of Flexible Working across different regions of the UK

In contrast to the discovery that South West based professionals work beyond their contracted hours more than those in other regions, a greater proportion of workers employed in Bristol and the South West are offered flexible working than London and the Home Counties. This suggests that despite having more opportunities to work flexibly, these professionals end up working more hours every week - everyone wants flexible working nowadays, but is it truly all it's cracked up to be?

Click on the images below to view infographics outlining our findings about the flexible working offered to professionals based in London, the South West and the Home Counties.

London flexible working infographic

South West flexible working infographic

Home Counties flexible working infographic

Making the most of these new working patterns

It seems there are some unexpected and potentially unwanted consequences of our more flexible working patterns, and employers need to urgently consider how to limit these. Employees have increased access to flexible working and welcome it, yet they end up working more hours every week for no greater reward. Both employers and employees worry that flexibility causes diminishing engagement - to overcome this, organisations must embrace technology, ensure a strong level of consistent communication and make sure strategies are aimed at both employees and their management.


The majority of respondents work across Banking & Financial Services, Professional Services or Commerce & Industry. 48% were male, 51% female. Just under three quarters were permanently employed (74%), 21% were temporarily employed and the remainder were either self-employed or unemployed. 63% of respondents work in London, 37% outside London. The highest proportion of respondents were at mid-management level (39%), followed by operational/executive (25%) and senior management (18%) - the remainder consisted of entry level, C-Suite and those who didn’t want to disclose their seniority.

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