Get a quick quote

UK work-life balance survey: 1 in 4 Brits work 40+ hours a week

12 January 2018 Data Insights

It’s the ultimate equation: get the right work-life balance and you can build a successful career while enjoying things like spending time with loved ones or developing your hobbies.

So, how successful are Brits when it comes to living and working well? It turns out, good and bad.

We surveyed workers across the UK, asking questions about their overall work-life balance. Almost three workers in every four feel they have a good work-life routine, but over 25% of Brits work 40 hours a week or more. But after looking a little deeper into their responses, it seems that there are plenty of factors that could jeopardise this delicate balancing act.

Explore the results and see how your work-life balance compares to the rest of the UK.

How much do we work?

As stated by HMRC, Brits can’t work more than 48 hours/week (averaged over 17 weeks), unless they officially state that they want to. Things like lunch breaks and voluntary unpaid overtime don’t count as work, while activities such as job-related training, business lunches, and unpaid overtime you’re asked to complete are included as part of your working hours.

According to our survey, the average office worker puts in 35 hours per week. But that’s only the average, and there’s plenty of people that’s not the case for:

  • 21% office workers work fewer than 30 hours per week
  • 51% office workers work 30-40 hours per week
  • 28% office workers work more than 40 hours a week

And it goes further than that; 64% office workers stay behind after work at least twice a month, and almost half of them stay behind on a weekly basis. Suggesting the numbers are creeping towards the 48-hour limit.

Does work follow us home?

Some find it easy to set off at the end of the day and leave their work at work. But for many, it’s a lot harder to clock out and let go.

Almost half (43%) of office workers who receive work emails check them when they’re not at work, and 20% have their mobiles set up so they receive work emails straight to their phones.

This mindset extends beyond the regular working week and follows some workers into their time off: 38% of respondents said they worry about work being completed when they’re on annual leave.

And it’s not just holidays that are being affected – 52% said they’d consider coming into work when they were ill if they knew they had a high workload.

 Getting the right balance

While 72% of office workers said they have a good work-life balance, 59% admitted their work affects the running of day-to-day life, meaning there’s always room for improvement.

By law, all employees have the right to request flexible working. And, according to our survey, 46% of employers already offer it as an option to their staff. There are many different forms of flexible working, including:

  • Remote working (such as working from home)
  • Flexitime (such as starting later or finishing earlier)
  • Job sharing
  • Compressed hours

Being able to adapt your work schedule to fit around other commitments can greatly improve your work-life balance, and 72% of people in flexible working environments believe their offices implement flexible working effectively.

Take matters into your own hands

It also seems that climbing the ladder can improve more than just your CV – 53% of managers who have been promoted from non-management roles feel their work-life balance is better than it used to be.

And if having more authority can help, then surely becoming your own boss is the ultimate way to gain control over your work-life balance? Some of our respondents have it in their sights for 2018, with 20% saying they want to start a new business this year.

There’s no single formula that delivers the perfect work-life balance for everyone – what’s best for you will depend on your individual lifestyle. However, making small changes, such as applying for flexible working or avoiding work emails when you’re not in the office, can make a big difference.

For more advice, learn about the pros and cons of working from home and explore different ways to keep your employees happy and engaged at work.

Why wait? Take card payments in just 3 days.