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Long hours culture fuelled by job insecurity

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Office staff are feeling the pressure of the economic downturn and putting in extra hours every day in an effort to be seen as valuable by their employers.

With so many people being made redundant, the job market stagnating and pay freezes across the board, more employees are prepared to work long hours to protect their jobs.

A survey carried out by Regus found that nearly half of workers in the UK work more than the standard eight hours on a daily basis.

One third of staff are racking up between nine and 11 hours on a regular basis with a tenth exceeding this and spending more than 11 hours in the office.

It seems to be that those with jobs seem to have to work harder than ever, taking on the workload caused by redundancies, as the jobs market is an area of extremes.

Of the 2,700 business employees in the UK surveyed for the study, more said they sacrificed elements of their personal lives in order to get aspects of their jobs done, even if it meant working long hours.

More than two fifths of the respondents admitted to taking work home three times a week at least, as the boundaries between work and home life begin to blur more significantly.

The survey found that since flexible working and part time contracts are more common for women it is men who are more likely to work the longest hours and feel unable to leave work at the office.

It showed that 40 per cent of men tend to work nine to 11-hour days in comparison with 24 per cent of women.

In addition to this, 47 per cent of men take work home to finish in the evenings on a regular basis and 31 per cent of women do the same, showing the added workload being placed on staff.

Two studies this week showed contrasting findings about the job market, as the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and KPMG Report on Jobs reported a fall in permanent appointments.

Meanwhile the Reed Job Index reported the highest number of job opportunities since December 2009.

Clare Kelliher, professor of work and organisation at Cranfield School of Management, said: “In the case of remote workers, who are working either at home or from a location closer to home, their days are more productive because they have avoided what may be a long and stressful commute but also because they are removed from the day-to-day distractions of the workplace which allows them to be more focused.”

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