All work and no play damaging UK - Medicash

A culture of ‘all work and no play' in the UK is damaging family life and causing high stress levels, according to Medicash.

The cash plan provider found that that heavy workloads were responsible for increased stress levels, with over 60.1% of respondents saying they found it difficult to switch off from work when at home.

According to results, those most likely to feel guilty about working long hours are in professional services (29.3%), who were also the most likely to work on a family holiday (56.1%), and have children complain about their overworking (22%).

They were followed closely by those working in finance, who were the most likely to suffer Sunday night blues (63.4%) and worry about work during the weekend (46.3%).

Professor Cary Cooper, Distinguished Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University & Director of Robertson Cooper Ltd, said: "Pressures on people with increasing workloads, the demands by clients for the completion of work instantaneously and the ability to interface with people 24/7 through new technologies means that it is vital that people find time for their family during the weekends, family holidays and at least 2-3 nights a week - or they and their families will suffer and ultimately so will the organisation."

The study also revealed 83% of working parents feel guilty about the amount of time they spend working, with 50% saying it has a negative impact on relationships with their children, and almost half (45.9%), saying it caused problems in their relationship with their partner and caused them to neglect friends (25%).

Cooper said: "The fact that many people feel guilty about how they spend their time is hugely significant.

"The evidence shows that flexible working delivers to the business' bottom line, with employees feeling less guilty about how they spend their time and achieving a better balance between work and home commitments."

The UK has some of the longest working hours in Europe, with average UK workers spending 1,625 hours a year at work, and more than 3 million UK employees (1 in 8) working more than 48 hours a week.

A study published last year by the TUC estimated workers undertook 2 billion hours of unpaid overtime - the equivalent of one million full-time jobs.

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