The UK’s long-hours culture is damaging the physical health of staff, but
extra overtime can improve their mental well-being, research has found.
Employees who volunteer to work longer hours often feel less stressed than
those who stick to their contracted hours.
But this benefit is offset by increased physical complaints, a three-year
study of over 5,000 staff in 23 countries by University of Manchester Institute
of Science and Technology concluded.
"For certain types of individuals, perhaps those who like to control
their working environment, there is some level of increased mental well-being
with increased overtime," said professor Brian Faragher of Umist.
"But this gain is almost certainly at the expense of physical
The report warns firms against promoting a long-hours culture.
Staff who feel coerced by their employer into working overtime suffer far
greater mental stress and physical illness.
Employees who worked longer hours did not show reduced job satisfaction but
were far more likely to register a negative view of their employer, the report
Many staff who admitted to working longer hours said their productivity
worsened the longer they worked, added Faragher.