Nearly a third of UK workers admit to working overtime at the weekends or on holiday

UK workers are facing baurnout by allowing work tasks to encroach heavily on free-time according to a new survey from global workspace provider Regus.

The survey targeted UK professionals in order to identify typical patterns working and productivity. For many respondents it appears that working structures are simply not geared to delivering a work/life balance that enables adequate rest and relaxation. Nearly a third of UK workers admit to working overtime at the weekend or on holiday.

Preventing burnout by protecting private time is a hot topic. Back in January, France passed a law establishing workers’ “right to disconnect”, requiring companies with more than 50 employees to establish hours when staff should not send or answer emails. More recently, the issue of mental health in the UK has gained much media attention thanks to the high-profile campaigning of members of the Royal Family. With the UK employment rate at its highest level since comparable records began, wellbeing in the workplace is obviously a key factor in the overall mental health of the nation.

Experts describe ‘burnout’ as physical, psychological and emotional distress caused by a total inability to rest. The number of people spending time working during so-called relaxation hours should serve as a wake-up call to managers and HR professionals.

Certainly, the rigid commuting model of beating traffic and cramming on trains to arrive at a fixed location at a set-time is proven to raise stress-levels. Respondents identified a more flexible workplace approach as being beneficial to wellbeing. Over half (54%) stated that they believed working from a professional location nearer to their home could help improve their work/life balance. And, 43 per cent of respondents stated that they intend to work remotely in the coming year in order to improve morale.

Richard Morris, UK CEO, Regus comments: “There is no lack of awareness around mental wellbeing and about how employers can improve working structures for employees. However, this awareness needs to now translate into tangible action and strategy.

“Studies prove that the commute remains a major cause of stress and unhappiness yet still employees are asked to battle for the same train at the same time simply to be present at a designated location. This is an archaic and outdated model.

“By embracing flexibility and enabling employees to work closer to home, employers will be rewarded with a workforce that is better equipped to provide its best work. There may, in time, be a UK law like the one recently passed in France whereby businesses are required to more closely monitor out-of-work activity. However, the onus is on UK firms to take a pro-active stance and to put worker wellbeing first.”