More than half of employees in UK organisations are working additional unpaid hours every day, according to data from salary survey company Cendex.
It found that 53% of staff report doing more than their contracted hours, with a quarter (24%) of employers blaming the pandemic and remote working causing a blur between home and work lives.
One in three employers surveyed reported that staff are working around one or two extra hours per day, but over a fifth (21%) said that staff were working between three and five hours more each day.
A further third said staff were not working any additional unpaid hours.
Scott Walker, Cendex managing director, said organisations needed to keep on top of excessive employee hours in case staff were at the risk of stress or burnout.
“Remote working has grown in popularity over the last year and while it’s a perfect fit for some, this data has shone light on a major pitfall of the initiative,” he said.
“In the past, employees often took their work home with them, but throughout the pandemic and now as we head towards a hybrid-work future, it’s really coming to the fore.
“The line between work life and home life is now blurred, resulting in a spike in working unscheduled hours. This will no doubt impact not only individuals’ wellbeing, but their performance and productivity at work too.”
He added that a more flexible approach, enabling parents to work around childcare or adjusting start and finish times so employees can avoid peak commuting times, would help address these issues.
“If the demand is there, HR and reward professionals must address it and be reactive in their building of benefit packages,” he added.
Cendex’ research also found that almost a quarter of organisations anticipate more employees leaving over the next seven to 12 months. Employees that feel constrained by set working hours or locations may re-evaluate where they want to work, it suggested.
Two-thirds of organisations it analysed said they thought the traditional nine-to-five working day was a thing of the past, and just a fifth thought it would remain in place.