Report highlights family toll of overwork

A new survey by the CIPD shows a majority of workers say they are working longer hours than they would like.

Mental Health - a women holding her head


Over-work, stress and poor work-life balance are undermining attempts to improve job quality in the UK, according to a new survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Its annual UK Working Lives Survey of 5,136 people identified poor work-life balance as a particular problem, with many people admitting their job caused disruption to family life and made it hard for them to switch off outside work.

Three in five (60%) people said they work longer hours than they want and one in four (24%) that they overwork by 10 or more hours a week.

A quarter (24%) admit it’s difficult to relax in their own time because they are thinking about work and that their job affects their personal commitments (26%).

The report also uncovers evidence of high levels of work intensity. Nearly a quarter of people say they often or always feel exhausted in their jobs (22%), or under excessive pressure (22%).

Other findings from the report highlight serious concerns about the demands of work and the impact it can have on people’s health. Two in three workers (66%) say they have experienced a work-related health condition in the last 12 months, with anxiety and sleep problems being two of the most common issues reported.

The CIPD is calling on employers to offer a range of flexible working practices to all employees to address these issues, which it says affect productivity. The report finds that three quarters of flexible workers (78%) say that flexible working
has a positive impact on their quality of life. However, many are missing out with two-thirds of employees (68%) wanting to work flexibly in at least one form that is not currently available to them.

The CIPD, which co-chairs the Flexible Working Taskforce, is seeking to boost the availability of flexible working across the UK and boost line manager training in managing it. It has produced new guidance and tools on flexible working, providing tips on how to improve uptake, guarantee successful implementation and carry out an effective evaluation.

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