What the average working day looks like

Does your average working day reflect the national norm?

Read any business interview and you’re likely to hear that ‘every day is different.’ While largely true, it appears that there are some common working patterns.

The average working day in Britain now features: 

  • 8.5 hours spent working and commuting (Accounting for 35% of each working day. This equates to a 37-hour working week. Our commutes also happen to be the longest in all of Europe, averaging an hour per day).
  • Sleeping (28% of each working day…but of course, we’re now out of office hours!).
  • Leisure or personal activities (24%).
  • Unpaid work and ‘miscellaneous tasks’ (12.5%).

These stats were reported by HR News. Almost 1/2 the national workforce additionally undertakes some work en route to the office or while on their way home.

What type of unpaid work and miscellaneous tasks are people doing?

This section refers to everyday tasks or chores, including cooking, housework and caring responsibilities.

  • The average man spends 2.3 hours a day on unpaid tasks, with women contributing 3.6 daily hours. This creates a collective average of 2.9 hours.

There’s also a gender disparity when it comes to the value of work being undertaken during this time. Women’s out-of-office tasks are said to comprise higher value activities.

How do people spend their leisure time?

It appears that the nation is favouring solitary activities – and it’s suggested that this may be in response to our high-tech and ‘interconnected’ lifestyles.

  • Watching TV, listening to music and reading currently top the list of leisure activities.
  • Men are more likely to opt for watching TV or films, whereas women are likelier to pick a meal out with friends or indulge in a relaxing hobby, according to this particular study pool.

And are we getting enough sleep?

Even though it’s the second item on the average working day list, the answer is ‘no.’ What’s more, it’s this topic that is perhaps of greatest interest to the study’s authors – Mattress Online!

  • The most popular time to go to bed is between 11pm-12pm.
  • Men are more likely to go to bed sooner, selecting 10-11pm. Whereas women are more inclined to choose somewhere between 12-1am.
  • The British average is 6.8 hours of sleep, just shy of the recommended 7-9 hours.

So, how closely do you match the average? Let us know by TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Want to boost your workplace wellbeing levels? Head straight to our last post!



Workplace wellbeing: 4 ways to improve yours

How to improve your workplace wellbeing – whether you’re an employer, manager or employee…

There are multiple motivations for companies to increase their workplace wellbeing efforts. For many company owners, the productivity benefits will be of paramount importance. Yet it also provides yet another competitive advantage at a time when great job-seeking candidates prove more challenging to find!

Of course, if you’re reading this from an individual perspective you’ll need little convincing as to why it would be helpful for you to feel less stressed, more supported, and all-around healthier throughout your working weeks. With this in mind, let’s look at…

4 ways to increase your workplace wellbeing, according to recent news reports:

1. Use your lunch breaks!

Source: HR News

This topic crops up time and time again, which is why it’s less of a surprise to hear that British workers are giving up 19 million hours worth of lunch breaks per day!

10% of professionals are grabbing lunch at their desk on a daily basis and 22% will give themselves less than 10 minutes for lunch.

However, legally, all employees working more than six hours a day should receive 20-minutes of uninterrupted lunch-break. Lunch breaks also provide all sorts of health boosts – from lifting your mood to reducing stress and increasing your concentration.

  • Managers/employers: here’s yet another message to make sure all bosses are honouring this right! If you know your employees are regularly skipping their breaks, you need to act fast.
  • Employees: take your breaks! If there’s a major reason you don’t feel that you can, you should discuss this with your manager or HR contact.

2. Move more often.

Source: HR Review

81% of British office professionals spend somewhere between four and nine hours a day sitting at their desks. This tots up to 67 days per person annually!

Alongside this, few people feel comfortable in the chairs provided and many report daily aches as a result. Although, legally businesses must conduct regular ‘workstation risk assessments’.

Research conducted with ergonomic equipment and sit-stand desks across a four-week period led to increased workplace wellbeing, higher comfort and greater energy levels.

  • Managers/employers: let this be a nudge to conduct those risk assessments and find out how your team is feeling. Explore better desk and chair options. Encourage everyone to take short breaks to get up and move around.
  • Employees: we should all aim to stand up and move at least every half an hour. Even if that’s just to pop up and down a flight of stairs, take something over to a colleague, head to the loo or put the kettle on.

3. Introduce or become a Mental Health First Aider

Source: The Telegraph

About 1 in 6 of us will experience a mental health problem at work at some stage. Full-time working females are twice as likely to encounter something of this nature. That’s a lot of the working population and may contribute up to 12.7% of national sickness absence.

Younger workers can also experience additional challenges, including exam anxiety and social media pressures alongside workplace isolation.

  • Managers/employers: why not introduce a mental health first aid person or team, dependent on the size of your business? Visit Mental Health First Aid England or St. John’s Ambulance for training details and advice.
  • Employees: you could volunteer to be a mental health first aider at work. Share some of the research behind this, alongside some of the training course details and see whether this is of interest to your employer. Here’s a recent advice piece we shared on LinkedIn for workers experiencing anxiety or depression.

4. Watch your environment

Source: HR News

64% of HR professionals believe a poor workplace environment can have a ‘substantial’ impact on employee sickness rates.

Naturally, absenteeism is of national concern as it now amounts to a cost of £18 billion a year. Think it’s always been the case? Well, 59% of people now take more sick leave than they used to a decade ago.

A more positive workplace setting is believed to provide encouragement and a sense of purpose. Great news for workplace wellbeing levels!

  • Managers/employers: this may take a spot of anonymous surveying, but it’s important to find out how your team perceives your workplace. You should also watch out for any hints of staff bullying, chronic negativity and/or low spirits. Also monitor your own actions to make certain you’re leading in a positive manner.
  • Employees: this may feel out of your control, however, you can also start with your own actions. Watch that you’re not using every chat as an opportunity to grumble, say please and thanks to your colleagues and try to respond to new ideas in an open way. Where possible, speak to a trusted manager or HR colleague if you have any concerns regarding the atmosphere for yourself or your colleagues. Of course, sometimes a fresh environment is also the best solution!

Further reading:

Managers looking to do more to increase their workplace wellbeing rates may also be interested to read:

  1. The real reason employees are calling in sick via HR News.
  2. Job insecurities are hurting your employees on People Management.


Too tired and stressed for work

Are we a nation of tired and stressed employees? Recent reports should come as a warning sign to professionals of every job level…

We learned that almost half of UK working adults fail to do anything to cope with their work-related stress. What’s more, professional services employees are the least likely to do anything to help themselves.

HR Review reports that a lack of time is the primary barrier for the majority of people (65%). Perhaps no surprises there!

Other barriers are said to include financial constraints and the fact few employers incorporate stress relief into their employee benefits.

How are other people reducing their stress?

  • Physical activity tops the list of popular activities for 44% of those surveyed.
  • In second place comes hobbies/personal interests (39%).
  • While others prefer to relax with family and friends (35%).

Another urgent health issue:

There’s another workplace wellness issue that’s affecting almost as many employees (46%)…and it’s fatigue. Fatigue enters the realms of ‘extreme tiredness’ which may have a physical and/or mental cause.

HR Magazine reveals that employees feeling too tired to work are:

  • Experiencing forgetfulness (37%).
  • Becoming ‘short-tempered with colleagues (30%).
  • And even falling asleep during the working day (22%). Most worryingly of all, 13% of workers have fallen asleep while driving.

Yet, despite the severity of the potential consequences, 86% of people do not feel their colleagues or management team will understand this issue. Furthermore, fewer than 10% would feel able to call in sick due to fatigue.

Drawing a connection…

While these could be two distinct issues, they may also be highly interlinked. After all, mental stress can lead to fatigue. Naturally, if workers are unable to do anything to relieve their stress, the problem can become more severe – and even create a culture of chronically tired and stressed employees.

How to help the tired and stressed!

We all need to do what we can to prioritise our stress management. We have a proactive guide, including support links, here (for employees of every working level).

Let’s not forget that employers and managers are also prone to becoming tired and stressed! While it can feel ‘professional’ to keep plugging away, there are two primary business costs. Productivity and financial. There’s a great piece about these over on Forbes.

Employers are additionally reminded of their duty to undertake work-related stress risk assessments (information can also be found here).

Whether it’s hiring some extra hands, opening up the conversation about fatigue, reducing the working day, increasing holiday allowance and/or banning work activity outside of office hours, there’s plenty that can be done to benefit all.



What’s your purpose at work?

How often do you consider the purpose or meaning of your work? The latest career news suggests this topic is growing in importance for many employees. Some of the findings may also surprise…

Far from any career-hopping stereotypes, millennials are looking for meaning:

The first news item that we’d like to discuss today comes from the Independent. For reference, this article classifies millennials as those born from 1980 to 1999.

Using research from education charity Teach First, we’re told:

  • Millennials aren’t really switching and swapping between careers as casually as the media might suggest!
  • More than 1/2 of millennials have actually opted to stay in the same career sector for fear of starting from scratch – or the possibility that a new route ‘will not work out’.
  • Only 19% of respondents would choose a high salary over personal fulfilment.
  • And, right at the crux of today’s conversation, this group is primarily seeking ‘greater meaning’, social impact, and a role that ‘will make a difference to other peoples’ lives’.

Managers would accept a pay cut for a sense of purpose:

Our second news item appeared in HR Review. In a separate survey focusing specifically on managers of unspecified age (so, this may also include some millennial workers), we hear:

  • Over 1/4 of British managers would take a pay cut to join a company with a greater purpose than making a profit.
  • 32% of people would leave their current role if they could not see evidence of this.
  • While 53% would resign if they realised the business’s values didn’t match their own.
  • All companies looking to recruit and retain talent should consider ‘the importance of having a defined company purpose that marries commercial success with social progress’.
  • Purpose-led employees are found to be ‘more positive, more engaged and have greater career confidence’.

In some ways, this shouldn’t surprise…

Purpose is proven to support our mental and physical health.  The sense of purpose lends us all some extra motivation. Including the motivation to stay well enough to hop up on a Monday morning and head to work. It also reduces stress and (rather helpfully!) minimises the risk of premature death.

Is finding a greater sense of meaning or purpose part of that niggle that something’s not right in your work? You may find our FAQ on ‘what next’ for your career a helpful read.