The cold dark winter nights actually boost staff working hours

So says a survey, conducted by, which contradicts many New Years resolutions by staff to claw back a better live/work balance, found that the average office worker spent an additional 38 minutes at work each day during the winter months.

This equates to more than three hours a week or an additional day and a half per month.

Main reasons cited by respondents for working longer hours were to stay out of the cold, avoid troublesome rush hour traffic and ensure all work was completed prior to the Christmas break.

Others said they were keen to impress ahead of an end of year appraisal and make a good impression ahead of New Year budget announcements.

Employees were also found to be less likely to leave the office for lunch or take cigarette breaks due to the bleak weather, maximising the time they spent at their desk.

However, whilst on the face of it longer working hours may appear good news for employers, more than two thirds of workers said they felt their productivity drop as soon as it became dark outside.

A spokesman from the company says the results should hold mixed emotions for employers keen to get the most out of their employees in the run up to Christmas.

He said: “Winter weather is causing employees across the UK to spend longer at work each day – which sounds great, particularly if it helps businesses achieve their end of year targets. However, delve a little deeper and the thought process appears to be centred around what is best for the employee rather than the employer.

“Whether it be to keep utility costs down, avoid winter traffic, stay out of the cold or impress ahead of an end of year appraisal, most workers were found to be putting in the extra time to benefit themselves.”

He concluded: “People may be staying longer at work in the evening, however due to energy levels dropping after dark it could make little difference to overall productivity.”