Opinion surveys: are we a generation of workaholics?
According to a recent survey by Morgan Mckinley, who recorded workers’ opinions in online paid surveys back in March, there has been a significant rise in the number of hours we work in the UK. But are these hours productive? Do we benefit financially from these extra hours? In short – for the majority of people – the answer is no.
The survey revealed that almost 85% of people work beyond their contracted hours. 31% even said they regularly worked over 10 hours more than their contracted hours. Interestingly, three quarters of those who shared their opinion in this online survey said they either feel ‘obligated’ or ‘very obligated’ to work these additional hours. This may be due to workplace peer pressure, or an unmanageable workload, but it is a worrying statistic that isn’t backed up by proof that these hours are always meaningful.
Only a third of those taking part in the survey thought that their additional hours put in were productive. If three quarters of people feel that working beyond their contracted hours isn’t productive, it begs the question as to why people do it.
Most surprising of all was the financial reward (or lack of) for working beyond your contracted hours. 87% of people in the survey said they are not compensated for working extra hours. This is a shocking statistic, as most people aren’t earning any more money (or aren’t able to take the time back in lieu) from all their additional work.
Not only are we, in general, working extra unpaid hours at the beginning and end of the day, but there is also a real trend in those who don’t take breaks. Fewer than one in five take their full allocated lunch break, and over a third of people never take a lunch break. Not only is it your legal right to take a break during a full working day, but this may account for subsequent exhaustion and stress which leads to additional hours being unproductive.
And the working hours don’t stop just in the office. Almost three in four people admitted they sometimes or always carry on working on a mobile device when they leave their place of work. Unsurprisingly, this is having a real impact on our personal lives – almost half said their work had a ‘heavy impact’ on their work-life balance.
By sharing your opinion in online paid surveys, we are able to see trends and statistics about how many workers in the UK today may appear to be at risk of becoming ‘workaholics’. When you compare the results to the rest of the world though, the UK is not at the top of the working hours stats. Turkey tops the list of the longest average hours worked, at 51.2 hours per week. The UK comes in 16th, with an average of 42.7 hours worked.
Personally, I see the lack of productivity as one of the most worrying trends to come out of the survey. There seems little point to being at work if you are not being productive (nor being paid). Perhaps we need to tackle the ‘perceived overtime’ culture that seems to be present in some organisations. Technology has moved on so much that this will hopefully lead to more of an acceptance of flexible and remote working (18% of workers said their company still did not offer any flexible or remote working). If one third of us also have a negative work-life balance as a result, then this also falls far from many peoples’ idea of a happy existence.
This survey though did not cover whether people were happy with their work. Perhaps we won’t break the trend of working long hours, but should instead focus on making those hours interesting and productive. Our recent Opinion Outpost members poll, which asked your opinion in online paid surveys about work, discovered that the majority of people are proud of their position and 80% feel valued. Perhaps, as Mary-Frances Winters famously said: “Do you work to live or live to work? If you love your work it doesn’t really matter.”
What do you think? Do you feel over worked and under paid? Are we really turning into a generation of workaholics, and what can we do about it? Share your opinion in online paid surveys with Opinion Outpost, and don’t forget to join the discussion on our Facebook page.