How many times have you worked through your lunch break, or been sat at your desk long after hours for no extra pay? Well – today you have an excuse not to, as national ‘Go Home On Time Day’ is launched.
The charity group Working Families has introduced its ‘Go Home On Time Day’, or GHOTD for short, to try and highlight the damage caused to families by working late too often.
This comes on the back of its survey of 1,500 people, which found that six in ten regularly worked late, with around half blaming their companies’ culture. But are those numbers surprising?
When 5pm has come and gone
I have to admit that over my years in employment, I’ve put in hundreds of extra hours work for no extra pay. I did this for a variety of reasons including huge workloads, a genuine interest in what I was working on and, most regrettably, a feeling that if I didn’t – I’d be considered a ‘slacker’, as many of my colleagues consistently stayed late.
Unfortunately, I think this is where the ‘culture’ of many employers comes into play. Putting in extra hours is always going to be necessary at times and largely, I don’t think that’s a problem.
But when employers are giving their employees targets to hit that simply cannot be reached in the working time they’re allotted, working a few extra hours a day becomes an expectation rather than the exception.
Working Families thinks this is a real problem, as it found one in ten of the people they surveyed never had time to sit down with their families during the working week. Many families find this has a detrimental impact on their lives, as well as being very stressful for the overworked individuals.
The British work ethic
To help promote a healthy work-life balance, the charity is asking firms to avoid booking meetings within the last hour of the working day, ban all business travel and encourage staff to leave on time.
I think it’s a brilliant idea, but I can’t imagine many companies across the country embracing GHOTD! After all, a study from the Office for National Statistics last year found that the average Briton works 42.7 hours a week compared to the EU average of 37.4 – so we’ve some way to go to meet our European counterparts.
I’ll be making sure I leave on time tonight – but is your place of work embracing GHOTD? Do you think workers should be expected to put in regular overtime, or have we Brits got the work-life balance all wrong?
What do you think about our work-life balance in the UK?
We do too much unpaid overtime (84%, 108 Votes)
The balance is just right (10%, 13 Votes)
We don't do enough unpaid overtime (6%, 8 Votes)
Total Voters: 129