Three quarters of UK employees feel obliged to work beyond their contracted hours and nearly a third are taking no lunch break, according to a report by Morgan McKinley.
The Morgan McKinley Working Hours survey of 2,600 professionals in sectors such as banking and finance found only 13% of employees said that they are compensated for working extra hours. The survey found 81% work beyond their contracted hours – and that 75% felt obliged to do so. Those at high levels were most likely to work more than 10 hours over their contracted hours.
The figures revealed that only 32% of professionals believe that they are productive during the extra hours that they work. A third don’t take their lunch break at all, with millennials being the largest group to have a working day without their lunch break. When they do finally leave the office, three in four are sometimes/always working from a mobile device after they leave the office, particularly those at higher levels.
David Leithead, UK Chief Operations Officer, Morgan McKinley, said: “Many people work more hours than they are paid for, often because they feel obligated to, rather than because of a belief that it’s a productive exercise.”
David added: “Businesses are facing an alarming burnout and need to evolve work practices. During the day, many employees don’t take any kind of lunch break. Then three quarters of them feel obligated to work beyond their contracted hours, yet they don’t feel that is productive. And when they do finally leave the office, they are always on-call. If not managed carefully, these factors can cause employee stress and burnout, and poor business performance.”
Over half of respondents said that they believe more flexibility would add to their productivity, showing the demand for flexible work arrangements. Although more employees do have the option to work from home and flexible start/finish times, the findings suggest a culture of flexible working is not yet embedded, said Morgan McKinley. The majority indicated flexible and remote working arrangements are offered on a discretionary basis or in extenuating circumstances rather than as part of an overall package.
“Employers may have good intentions but many have a long way to go in finding a solution, helping their employees to find the right balance and re-educating old school management to ensure that they attract and retain talent,” said David. “Not least because the new millennial generation won’t embrace this, they simply won’t put up with it – which spells longer term problems that big companies can’t afford to ignore.”