Britons ‘work four hours a week without pay’

More people are working unpaid hoursMotivation in the UK workplace may be hampered after it was revealed that the average employee is working for four hours a week without pay.

The survey by online takeaway firm revealed that in Sheffield, the number of hours of unpaid work people carry out each week stands at 6.4, while in London it is 6.1 hours and in Nottingham 5.7 hours.

And 58 per cent of the employees polled claimed that they were now working more unpaid hours than they have ever done before, while 71 per cent suggested they regularly worked on their lunch break.

And 44 per cent are staying in the office after hours to continue with their jobs.

In total, employers are benefiting from £1.5 billion of unpaid labour every week from their workforce, the study revealed.

However, the stress of the current economic downturn may be set to end, after the Institute of Chartered Accountants suggested the recession was over.


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4 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. I don’t understand the link between working unpaid hours and the proposal that ‘motivation may be hampered’.

    It suggests to me a very narrow and ill-informed view of what really motivates people. Surely, the more fulfilling the job, the greater the commitment and motivation, whether paid or not?

    That fulfilment may come through greater security in uncertain times, of course; but also shared values and goals, a sense of personal and corporate achievement and pride, wider appreciation and acknowledgement, a degree of autonomy and self-determination, and the ability to make a positive contribution.

    Those who are especially financially pressed in particular may well be additionally motivated by money out of expedience and necessity, but not intrinsically. And employers do well to recognise this – as many good ones do. (Payment by results is surely more effective than payment by hours clocked in? And what self-respecting employer ever wants a workforce that has no commitment to the organisation and no pride in their work? More, what discerning customer or consumer would ever want to deal with such people, given other options?)

    So these results may be as likely to suggest a *more* motivated working community, not one less so?



  2. I think this article misses another key point, surely people are spending more time in the office in order that they may be seen to be “working hard” and as a consequence avoid the next dreaded round of redundancies? It is surely part of an inevitable and understandable reaction to such testing circumstances. Unemployment will continue to rise. We all know what part fear can play in motivation and human behaviour.

  3. Unfortunately it works the other way round also. consider the person who feels obliged to work extra hours to keep their job. It is fairly common to find people working a few hours extra a week just so they can be seen to do their job.

    There are many people who are salaried and do not get the extra money for overtime, indeed it is often seen as part of the job especially if you want to progress to put in more hours for free for the benefit of the company. The problem with the article is that it doesnt say whether these people wanted to work extra hours because of the love of the job or loyalty or whether they felt obliged to do it, or if they are doing it purely because of financial reasons.

    A company will see itself as the single most important entity on the planet and anything it can get away with to ensure its bottom line it will do, including promoting a culture where the worker is almost coerced into extra work for no pay.

    I guess Jeremy you have a bit of an argument for more motivation, but i would imagine that the opposite is probably more true. However, without full and proper evidence we would probably go round in circles.

  4. Excellent article and comments. Without your people you have nothing. They are truly your greatest competitive advantage. Yet survey after survey, article after article, shows the majority of employees are planning to jump ship as soon as they safely can – largely because of the way they have been treated during the recession. employees often understand why company leadership had to reduce headcount, cut costs, freeze pay, and other actions. It’s the lack of respect and recognition for what the remaining employees were able to do that is behind this mass desire to “find someplace where I’m appreciated.”

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