freelance journalist, print journalist, online journalist, copywriter, content editor, freelance editor, health and lifestyle, blogger Are you working too hard? | Christine Morgan - Journalist
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Today’s news about rising unemployment figures in the UK is pretty dismal, I think everyone would agree. But if you’re one of those who are still lucky enough to have a job, then do you feel even more pressure now to perform at work than you used to?

I imagine the answer is ‘yes’. And a new survey by Aviva suggests I might be right. Each day, UK workers are putting in 26 million extra work hours, says the insurance company’s latest Health of the Workplace Report. In fact, six in 10 employees work beyond their contracted hours, the report says, by putting in an average of one and a half hours’ overtime – unpaid, of course – per day. The company has cleverly worked out that means UK business benefit to the tune of £225 million per day in unpaid labour.

Phew. I’m feeling exhausted just thinking about it.

The result of all those extra hours is bad news for health. According to Aviva, 27 percent of those quizzed said they feel tired all the time, 23 percent say they feel really stressed, 15 percent admit to eating junk food as a result of overworking themselves, and 9 percent say they need to smoke or drink to unwind. Only 18 percent say their work-life balance is still good, after taking the extra hours at work into account.

But why do we stay at work after going-home time? It’s not for the love of the job any more, the survey claims, with 41 percent of people staying late because they have too much work and 20 percent admitting they want to impress the boss.

“Working excessively can have a huge impact on people’s mental and physical wellbeing, so anyone who feels they might have a problem, should speak to their manager to address the matter before it becomes a bigger issue,” says head of clinical development for Aviva, Dr Douglas Wright.

“Six per cent of workers actually report they have been off sick as a result of overworking, so it’s very much in employers and employees’ interests to nip any such problems in the bud.”

With jobless figures on a continuously upward trend, it doesn’t seem as if the problems caused by overwork will be nipped in the bud any time soon though, does it?