Brits work '1,000 hours in unpaid overtime' every year

Work/life balance is notoriously difficult to achieve, even more so since so many of us began working from home.

That line between work space and living space has become completely blurred and, as a result, millions of us are working a significant number of additional hours, unpaid.

Millions of Brits give up more than a month of time each year by working additional unpaid hours, totalling five years over their working life, according to new research.  

In a poll conducted by Hitachi Personal Finance, data reveals exactly how much time we are spending working beyond our contracted hours.  

The figures show that we are working a whopping 1,834 days unpaid across their working life, just by starting work early and finishing late. That’s an extra 42 days each year. 

Nearly half (49%) start work early each day and 48% admit to working late every day. Looking more closely at those who start work early, a third (32%) are working an extra 147 days in their lifetime by getting to the office or logging on at home 20 minutes early each day.

Additionally, 15% of Brits are working an extra 330 days – that’s nearly a whole year – by regularly starting work 45 minutes before their shift starts. What’s more, 2% are tallying up a huge one year and two months’ worth of overtime by starting work an hour earlier than they are contracted to.

In total, this means that collectively, Brits are losing 917 days on unpaid work across their working lifetime, just by beginning their working day prematurely on a regular basis.  

And for those working after their shift ends, three in ten are spending a further 147 days working over their lifetime, finishing late by 20 minutes each day, and 14% are working an extra 330 days in their lifetime by finishing 45 minutes after they’re supposed to. Worryingly, 5% are logging off an hour or more after they should be finishing work.

Overall, this means that Brits are putting in an extra two and a half years work in their lifetime by continuing to work outside of their contracted hours.  

More than three in five Brits (61%) admit they would rather have a better work/life balance, which is being achieved in some respects, with increased home working meaning commuting time is being reduced or completely removed.

However, this balance is still being compromised with so many putting in longer hours than they’re contracted to even while working at home, perhaps unaware of the accumulative amount of time they’re losing from their personal lives.  

It’s important to remember that all of these additional hours do add up.

Even if it feels OK to work an additional hour here or there, if it becomes a regular occurrence that you’re working way beyond your contracted hours, you could be heading towards burnout.

Read our tips on how to maintain good work/life balance even when working from home, and don’t feel bad about leaving work when you’re meant to.

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