A recent comprehensive survey by Moneypenny has brought to light the widespread issue of overtime in the UK workforce and its alarming impact on workers’ mental health. This in-depth investigation highlights the need for a critical reassessment of work-life balance in various industries.
The prevalence of overtime in the UK’s working landscape
The research by Moneypenny, which surveyed a diverse group of 1,000 UK workers across multiple sectors, reveals a troubling trend: a staggering 84% of employees feel the pressure to work additional hours to meet their job demands. This pressure is further exacerbated as one in four of these workers is not compensated for their overtime. This statistic is a stark reminder of the often unspoken expectations in the modern workplace, where going above and beyond the call of duty has become the norm rather than the exception.
Industries facing the brunt of overtime
The survey delves into specific industries where overtime is most prevalent, painting a detailed picture of the working conditions across different sectors:
- Law enforcement and security. Averaging 12.6 extra days of work per month, employees in this sector face the highest demand for overtime. The nature of this industry, which often requires round-the-clock vigilance, contributes to this high number.
- Recruitment and HR. With an average of 12.2 overtime days per month, professionals in these fields are consistently working beyond their contracted hours. This can be attributed to the critical role these departments play in managing human resources, especially in larger organisations.
- Accountancy, banking, and finance. Employees in these sectors report an average of 11.7 days of overtime per month. The high-stakes nature of financial services, coupled with tight deadlines and client demands, often necessitates longer working hours.
Other sectors such as social care, education, science, and pharmaceuticals also reported high levels of pressure to work overtime, underscoring the widespread nature of this issue.
The toll on physical and mental health
The consequences of prolonged overtime are far-reaching. The survey highlights that more than a quarter (26%) of the respondents experienced negative impacts on their physical health due to overtime. Even more concerning is the effect on mental health, with 23% reporting adverse consequences. These statistics bring to light the often-overlooked aspect of occupational health – the mental and physical well-being of employees.
Furthermore, the personal lives of workers are not immune to the effects of extended working hours. Relationship strains were reported by more than one in six workers, with 1 in 12 even citing overtime as a contributing factor to a relationship breakup. This data points to a significant imbalance between work and personal life, calling for an urgent need to address this growing concern.
Expert insights on managing overtime
Fiona Armstrong, chief people officer at Moneypenny, offers valuable insights into addressing this issue: “Caring for your employees and managing overtime is a critical practice for any business leader. In a world where performance and productivity often dominate the conversation, remember that a well-rested, engaged, and content workforce is the true driving force behind success.
“At Moneypenny we prioritise our team’s well-being, making sure we look after everyone, and we know that it leads to their commitment and dedication to our mission. By taking care of your employees, you, in turn, take care of your business, so you should treat your team as your greatest asset.”
Methodology of the study
The study’s robust methodology involved surveying a representative sample of 1,000 UK workers from various industries. This broad sample base ensures the findings provide an accurate reflection of the current state of overtime work across different sectors in the UK.
Call for action
The findings of the Moneypenny survey serve as a wake-up call for industries across the UK. The prevalence of overtime and its detrimental effects on workers’ physical and mental health, as well as their personal lives, underscores the urgent need for businesses to rethink their approach to work hours and employee welfare. As the business landscape continues to evolve, creating a more sustainable work culture that values and respects the well-being of employees is not just a moral imperative but a strategic necessity for long-term success.