Are you working too hard?

UK workers are plagued by long hours and a lack of flexibility, and would rather cut their hours than win the lottery

More and more UK workers are putting in 60-hour weeks and suffering from stress as a result of the rigours of office life. According to figures released by the Department of Trade and Industry's Work-Life Balance Campaign, UK workers are burning themselves out by spending too much time in the office. It's become such a problem that the majority of respondents to the survey said they would rather cut their hours than win the lottery. One in six respondents said they currently regularly work more than 60 hours per week. It also appears that the younger the person, the more hard-working they are. More than 20 per cent of 30 to 39-year-olds work more than 60 hours per week, compared to just 14 per cent of the over-40s. This pattern would appear to suggest the further up the corporate ladder you climb, the easier life becomes -- a fact that will be a surprise to very few. Worse still, those putting in the hours aren't being rewarded for their efforts -- most are on flat annual salaries with no added compensation for overtime. Three quarters of all employees regularly put in overtime and of these only one third are paid extra for doing so. Regional differences were also highlighted by the research. Perhaps unsurprisingly it is Londoners who spend more time tied to their desks than any other workers. The average employee in the capital puts in 12 hours of overtime per week. A lack of flexible working conditions has also been blamed for rising levels of stress and related illness. Seventy percent of workers claiming to suffer from stress say they have no opportunity to work more flexible hours. Teleworking is being heralded by many as a way to improve your working life. Increasingly people are choosing to work from home -- a practice made easier by the introduction of high-speed unmetered Internet access and a greater willingness to invest in the necessary technologies such as virtual private networks (VPN). However, research has shown that teleworkers put in even longer hours than their office-bound peers.

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