Long hours put strain on home life

Binge-working ‘ruining our family life’

The Story Employees working too many hours is having a disastrous impact on family life and health in the UK. Workers that put in extra hours at the office drink too much, eat unhealthily, do not exercise and rarely see their children. According to research conducted by charity Working Families and Lancaster University, Britain has Europe’s longest working hours. The study, entitled Time, Health and the Family: What Working Families Want shows that 56% of employees work more than 40 hours per week, despite the fact that only one-in-five is contracted to do so. Nearly half of employees also said that they missed putting their kids to bed because they were still working.

The Response Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University, said that there’s no evidence that a long hours culture improves productivity, [rather it] "damages family life and then that feeds back into work". He added that despite the UK being the fourth largest economy in the world, its productivity is not even in the top 10. Cooper said: "Although lots of employers have flexible working policies – often the long hours culture of an organisation militates against those policies." But some organisations are trying to improve the situation. Janet Gaymer, senior partner and employment expert at law practice Simmons & Simmons, said that flexible working might be the only answer to combat the firm losing its most talented employees.