Weekend working commonplace despite negative impact on productivity, finds poll

May 23, 2015 Leave your thoughts

Nearly 10 million staff estimated to work on days off despite Monday to Friday contract

Almost half of employees (47 per cent) who work Monday to Friday have needed to put in extra hours at the weekend, according to a poll from benefits firm MetLife.

The research, with more than 1,000 workers, suggested that work has disturbed weekends for 9.7 million people in the past 12 months.

The average number of weekends people worked extra hours is just eight, however, 14 per cent of poll respondents said they had to work on more than 21 weekends in the year to keep up with their workload.

Further results revealed that women find it harder to switch off at weekends, with 38 per cent of female workers admitting that this is an issue, compared with 32 per cent of men.

The research suggests that Britain is a nation whose workers struggle to relax when they are not ‘at work’.

Results showed that 66 per cent of full time employees are not contracted to work weekends (70 per cent of men versus 61 per cent of women) – the equivalent of around 20.79 million employees.

Over-bearing workloads were found to be a major contributor to ever extending work hours, with 52 per cent of women and 42 per cent of men stating that they used the weekends to catch up on work.

Around 23 per cent of unpaid weekend employees had to pitch in when a crisis happened, while 13 per cent said their employer wants them on call at all times.

“Uncontracted weekend working is a creeping condition than can decay overall productivity and performance,” said Tom Gaynor, employee benefits director of MetLife UK.

“Disrupted and sometimes ruined weekends are becoming a disturbing feature of British life that has deep societal implications.

“The role of managers is vital in guiding employees so that there is a better understanding of workload requirements and priorities. Weekend working can lead to unnecessary stress, impaired performance and ultimately absence. There is little wonder the UK has a productivity gap when we learn that many employees will not have benefited from proper rest and relaxation in advance of Monday morning.”

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