UK workers give employers '1,000 hours of unpaid overtime' every year

brits working overtime office

Since the coronavirus lockdown, many Brits are working from home. Things have changed dramatically; online meetings are now the norm and the world has had to adapt to a digital way of working. But work burnout is a thing, with the rise of feeling the pressure to be connected 24/7, particularly in 2020.

And all those extra hours add up. In fact, many UK workers are giving their employers 1,000 hours every year in unpaid overtime - which equates to five years of your life over your working life.

Hitachi Personal Finance conducted a poll for National Work Life Week to find out just how well we're doing when it comes to a work/life balance, and it revealed that Brits are working an extra 42 days each year for free.

The survey showed that 49% of participants admit to starting work earlier than contracted, and of those a third will be doing 147 days of overtime during their working life by adding on those daily 20 minutes. What's more, 15% of Brits are totalling 330 days overtime when they begin their shift 45 minutes early. By starting an hour earlier, you'll rack up one year and two months of unpaid overtime.

The research also found that 48% work after hours every day, with 3 in 10 adding another 147 days to their overtime tally by staying on for 20 minutes daily.

Of those involved, 61% said that they want a better work/life balance, although the lockdown may have impacted the hours worked as availability increases.

By clocking off on time, they add that you could be spending your free hours by learning a language, starting a new positive habit, studying for a degree or binge watching your favourite TV show (that definitely counts as being productive, okay).

Vincent Reboul, Managing Director of Hitachi Capital Consumer Finance said: 'It’s very interesting to see the sheer amount of people in Britain who are working way past their contracted hours. If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that we need to value the time and experiences we have with each other and our loved ones, as well as making sure we’re dedicating time to ourselves.

'Putting in the extra hours during the working day can sometimes be inevitable, but we wanted to highlight just how much this adds up to over time. This is particularly relevant as home working has become the norm for many, which appears to have blurred the lines between work mode and home mode. Hopefully these findings help workers to realise how much time they do have available to them once they start paying attention to their work/life balance.'

Do you find yourself working after hours, or have things changed for you this year? Let us know @marieclaireuk

Jadie Troy-Pryde
News Editor

Jadie Troy-Pryde is News Editor, covering celebrity and entertainment, royal, lifestyle and viral news. Before joining the team in 2018 as the Lifestyle and Social Media Editor, she worked at a number of women’s fashion and lifestyle titles including Grazia, Women’s Health and Stylist, and now heads the Marie Claire UK news desk.