Flipping Heck! Learning To Be Productive One Day At A Time

UK Working Hours

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UK Working Hours

I’ve been working on sending out tons of quotes over the past couple of days which has been a bit dull (although kind of nice to see the money I could be generating if they all go through!) so my mind’s been having a bit of a wander.

We have a job clocking in/out system and every hour of our work day has to be accounted for. Whilst this may seem a bit Orwellian, it allows us to work out profits against jobs effectively and also lead me on to today’s little ramble.

At the beginning of each day we receive a print out of the previous days work so that we can check the timings and jobs. I noticed this week that my total work hours were 8.57 hours (how I got it to exactly .57 each day I don’t know!) a day which works out at 42.85 hours a week (and scarily about 14570 hours a year – what??). So I thought I’d do a little research.

According to the Federation of European Employers (FedEE) the average working week in the UK is 43.5-44.5 hours.

Digging around a bit further, we get figures from the GMB showing that whilst the “average” weekly total varies quite a bit across the Country, the average is still quite high (but we do get lazier the further south we are cheeky tongue). From their survey:

Other areas in the UK with average working hours for men above the average for the UK of 40.6 hours per week are:  Aberdeenshire 44.3 hours, Thurrock 43.5, Bexley 43.3, East Riding of Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire 43.1, Angus and Inverclyde 42.7 hours, Herefordshire 42.5, Rotherham and Lincolnshire 42.4. The East Midlands is the region with the longest average working hours of 41.3 per week.The areas in the UKwith the lowest average weekly hours for men are:  City of London37.3, Tower Hamlets 38, Calderdale 38.4, Camden38.6, Edinburgh38.7 hours, Dundee City 38.8 hours and East Renfrewshire 38.9 hours. The UK region with the lowest average working week is London with an average working wee of 39.7 hours.

Considering most of us are contracted to work a 35-hour week here in the UK, that’s a heck of a lot of free overtime our companies are getting! In fact, the TUC points out the true “cost” of our free work:

Britons put in 36 million hours of free overtime each year with one in three refusing to take all their holidays fearing a backlog of work when they return. Figures, based on Labour Force Survey statistics and published ahead of TUC’s 25 February 2005 “Work Your Proper Hours Day,” showed how UK workers are owed £23 billion from unpaid overtime in the UK last year.

£23 Billion!!!!!

So, why do we do it? Well the obvious choices are too much work, not enough time, job insecurity and wanting to impress the boss but I don’t understand why, within the whole of Europe, it seems to be a British “phenomenon”.

I’d be really interested to hear what my foreign readers think…

Now, I’m off home, they’ve already had an hour extra out of me today

And for those of you who are interested, “Work Your Proper Hours Day” is Friday 23rd February 2007 so you’ve had plenty of warning to get your affairs in order and finish on time – on that one day at least!

Finally, work out how much your company owes you with the online overtime calculator. I could afford 5 holidays a year on what I’m missing out on!

About The Author
Katy is always trying to be more productive one day at a time! Whether it's analogue, digital, motivational or psychological who'll try any system that will help her get things done and get organised. As well as running, she also loves making music and reviewing things.
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    The Excuse Eliminator
    November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    “Let me make you feel better for yourself…or worse for me…

    At 18 years old, I was working a 40 hour work week exactly.

    I spent several glorious years on the road with a band working just a few hours a day…sometimes a week!

    Then my next job was approximately 50-55 hours per week as a manager of a retail store (no overtime pay).

    Then I left that job and have been at my current job for a decade. In the last two years my SCHEDULED hours have come DOWN one hour per year so that I am now scheduled a mere 52 hour per week….SCHEDULED. Often, we work more than that! Oh, and no overtime of course.

    If you average it out, that’s 7.4 hours per day, roughly, IF I worked 7 days a week!

    So there you have it.

    And now that I have added that all up, I am going to try to struggle through my day!



    I am not quite sure why you seem to be multiplying 42.85 by 340?

    Should you not instead be multiply the weekly average workload by the number of weeks one works in a year.”


    Opps! Typo!

    I meant: I am not quite sure why you seem to be multiplying 42.85 by 340?

    Should you not instead be multiplying the weekly average workload by the number of weeks one works in a year.”


    “I got the 340 days figure from there being 365 days in the year and I get 25 days holiday.

    Mind you, I was never very good at maths… :p”


    “Geo – I certainly don’t envy you!

    It’s a shame that companies don’t value the overtime (or extra time) that we all put in – not necessarily in monetary value, even a free lunch would be nice now and then!”


    Maths are not my forte either! ;^) Do not tell anyone that I only get 1 out of 20 (5 per cent) for the French Baccalaur

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