According to card payment supplier Paymentsense, UK employees are working an average of eight extra hours unpaid overtime every week at work. This time is worth £1.6 billion to UK SMEs.
16% of those surveyed said that they work far more than the average eight hours. Younger workers aged 18-24 are averaging 11 extra unpaid hours a week.
Reasons for staying behind
The main reason workers were putting in so many hours was in order to keep up with the volume of work, with 58% citing this as their reason for staying behind. 30% said pressure from their manager meant they had to stay behind.
The next reason on the list was a bit more positive, with 28% saying they wanted the business to do well and were willing to stay behind.
The top reason for staff being asked to work late unexpectedly was last minute requests from clients (39%), followed by a last minute request from the boss (37%).
Overrunning meetings were another top reason with 34% highlighting this. The other reasons were admin related and down to poor time management from both themselves and their manager.
The negative effects on your workforce
Having less free time as a result of working late and not even extra pay to make up for it is unsurprisingly making an unhappy workforce.
All this unpaid overtime has been making 42% of people feel more stressed. 37% said that they feel as though they have been taken for granted by their employer because they are not even being compensated for the hours they’re putting in.
36% of employees said that they rarely or never got credit from their bosses for putting in the extra effort and hours.
29% said that they have even considered leaving their job or changing career as a result of unpaid overtime. 26% went so far as to say they’d consider starting their own business and 16% said they may go freelance to get out of their current working environment and have more control over their time.
This is something managers across the country should be bearing in mind before they find themselves with empty roles to fill on a regular basis.
Guy Moreve, head of marketing at Paymentsense said: “We know from working with over 50,000 of the UK’s small businesses that SMEs are constantly challenged to balance the often-unpredictable demands of growth, with looking after hardworking staff – especially in potentially uncertain economic times.
“Keeping employees happy should be a priority, given its impact on productivity levels. The good news is that perks don’t have to cost a fortune. Our own research has shown that an early Friday finish, the chance to work flexible hours, and a free day off here and there: for birthdays, duvet days or to help with moving house are amongst most sought-after benefits.”
Do you regularly ask staff to stay behind after work? It could be having an impact on staff retention and motivation. Please leave any thoughts in the comments.