No time for free time?

The British working population is feeling the strain once again, with many people saying they have no time for ‘free time’ in their working weeks…

This statement accounts for 43% of a recent survey population (as reported by HRnews). More specifically, the workers state they have anywhere from ‘little’ or ‘very limited’ to absolutely ‘no’ time to use as they please.

Almost 40% of respondents attribute their increased stress to this lifestyle – and 11% believe it’s affecting their health.

How are workers spending their time away from work?

It is not just our paid work that’s taking over our lives. In fact, overtime only accounted for just over 1/4 of our pre- and post work commitments.

Instead, it’s those everyday household tasks stealing most of our non-work time (39%). Then, in second place, comes our childcare responsibilities (32%).

The rest of this time is split between household admin and a small amount of cooking. See the full percentage breakdown here.

We’re also feeling the squeeze at work…

These responses immediately made us think of our recent article on ‘life admin’ at work. If 82% of full-time workers are completing personal tasks during office hours – and 43% of people have no time for anything beyond their daily chores! – it appears the nation is feeling the responsibility squeeze.

Note: if you haven’t already read the life admin piece, it comes highly recommended. After all, it highlights the data and security risks posed by this common habit.

What can we do about this problem?

The root of this issue will naturally vary by household. For some, it will be the case of a single person undertaking long hours and then holding sole responsibility for everything out of work. For others, it could be the case of some simple time management shifting. Of course, it could also be another sign of ‘hurry worry’!

Due to the heterogeneous nature of this problem, we cannot offer specific advice. However, we do have some key questions for you:

  • Is your current role allowing you to arrive home at a reasonable time? Is there anything you could do about your commute?
  • Is there any flexibility on your working hours?
  • Are you in the position to consider part-time work?
  • Have you ever measured how you’re currently using your out-of-work time to see whether there are any wasted periods that could be repurposed for relaxation or personal interests?
  • Is there anyone that you could ask to help you with your household tasks?

This list is by no means exhaustive, yet the stats certainly highlight the need to intervene in some way. Should a new role be the right next step for you, we’d be delighted to receive your application.