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Brits work over 1,000 unpaid hours every year

Abigail Fenton
·Writer
·3-min read
Working from home has blurred the lines between 'work mode' and 'home mode' expert says. Photo: John Schnobrich/Unsplash)
Working from home has blurred the lines between 'work mode' and 'home mode' expert says. Photo: John Schnobrich/Unsplash)

Millions of Brits work more than a month's worth of additional unpaid hours every year, research suggests.

Brits do up to 42 days – 1,008 hours – of extra, unpaid work per year, just by starting early and finishing late, according to a survey of 2,000 by Hiatchi Personal Finance.

This comes to a whopping 1,834 days or five years of unpaid work across their working life

Nearly half of British people start work early (49%) and finish late (48%) every day, the research found.

Of those who begin work before their official start time, a third (32%) work an extra 147 days in their lifetime by getting to the office or logging on at home 20 minutes early each day.

Another 15% of Brits are working an extra 330 days – nearly a whole year – by regularly starting work 45 minutes before their shift starts.

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What’s more, 2% are giving their employers a huge one year and two months’ worth of free work by starting an hour earlier than they are contracted to.

This means Brits are collectively losing 917 days on unpaid work across their working lifetime, just by beginning their working day prematurely on a regular basis.

Of those continuing working after their shift ends, three in 10 spend 147 days doing unpaid overtime in their lifetime by finishing late by 20 minutes each day.

Another 14% are working an extra 330 days in their lifetime by finishing 45 minutes after they’re supposed to.

Even more shockingly, 5% of Brits rack up an extra one year and two months of overtime in their lifetime by logging off an hour or more after they should be finishing work.

Overall, this means that Brits are putting in an extra two and a half years work in their lifetime, just by continuing to work outside of their contracted hours.

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Meanwhile, 61% admitted they would rather have a better work/life balance – something that has been partly achieved through increased home-working and less commuting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, this balance is still being off due to many putting in longer hours than they’re contracted to, even while working at home, the research found.

“It’s very interesting to see the sheer amount of people in Britain who are working way past their contracted hours,” said Vincent Reboul at Hitachi Cap ital Consumer Finance:

“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.

“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.”

He added: “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.”

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