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!

Simple workplace happiness hacks

When you think of finding happiness at work, you might picture a promotion, more rewarding project, or achieving your ultimate job goal. Yet what if we were to tell you that there are some simple steps you can take to make your current job at least a little happier? Not only that, but you could also bring happiness to your colleagues and/or employees by executing this newfound knowledge…

The recent Office Happiness Index suggests that this is indeed the case.

HR News shared the Index findings, also revealing that 75% of workers feel happy at work.

The leading happiness hacks are:

  1. Saying ‘well done’ and ‘thank you’ to colleagues. Receiving such acknowledgement from bosses and clients tops the list for 85% of professionals. However, we can all show our appreciation whatever our job role.
  2. Taking your lunch-break and encouraging others to do the same. Despite this being ranked the second happiest moment of each working week, we know that so many people aren’t taking their breaks. Managers need to ensure their team feels able to do so, finding ways to reduce strain where needed. Top tip: booking a temp can relieve a lot of pressure in periods of high demand/workload.
  3. Treating your colleagues to cakes, pastries, or similar. This simple gesture wins over 80% of people, plus it can be combined with the next most popular happiness hack…
  4. Asking someone how their weekend went. Even better, ask someone you don’t always chat with.
  5. Finding a way to fix that faulty piece of office equipment. A moment of bliss, according to 73% of participants!

You can also beat the biggest pet peeves by…

  1. Doing point 5. above! Yes, this leads the list of office peeves, so prioritise the fix (or find someone who can!).
  2. Checking your emails and comments for all hints of the ‘passive aggressive!’ It’s easy to let personal stresses spill into your comms with your colleagues, yet it’s certainly not the way to vent your concerns or win people over.
  3. Avoiding unnecessary meetings. If you’re calling a meeting, make sure it has a clear purpose and timeframe and only invite those who really need to be there.
  4. Cleaning your crockery! Dirty coffee mugs and cutlery left on desks are considered the bane of office life for 65% of workers. Get in the habit of clearing as you go – and win yourself some brownie points by offering to lend a hand to an even busier team member!
  5. Considering your temperature needs. It’s hard to make everyone happy with this one. What’s comfortably warm for one is irritatingly chilly for another…and yet far too hot for someone else. Wearing layers can help, plus asking around before you fiddle with the thermostat or whip open the windows. Managers should also consider the team’s individual seating and supply needs.

Talking of seating and supplies, the article also shares insights regarding the types of offices that create the most happiness.

In other happiness news…

The UK is considered one of the 30 happiest countries in the world. However, it scored 19th place and only just made the list when it came to work-life balance (28th). This was despite coming in the top 10 for salaries (9th). The top three happiest countries each had higher work-life balance scores than the UK’s:

  • Happiest nation: Finland (11th for work-life balance)
  • 2nd happiest: Norway (7th)
  • 3rd happiest: Denmark: (4th)

Elsewhere, it was reported that males born between the mid-1960s to early-1980s are the least happy working group. Public sector workers and those paid hourly as opposed to by salary also fared worse on their happiness scores.

Ready for the challenge of a new role? Check out the latest jobs in Bath & Somerset. You can also use these tips to take your job search to an expert level!

Career priorities: what matters most?

What are your career priorities? The Oxford Open Learning Trust has researched the factors deemed most important when looking for a new job…

The top five considerations currently include:

  1. Salary/pay (64%)
  2. Working hours (55%)
  3. Working location / Personal interest or enjoyment (tied at 50%)
  4. Job security (40%)
  5. Working environment (37%)

You can find the full top 10 over at HR News.

Career priorities: working hours

The second place spot particularly caught our attention. Not only because it was discussed by more than half of respondents, yet also the way it chimes with other research on this topic.

Over on the Independent, we hear how more than 1/2 of British workers would prefer to move away from the standard ‘9 to 5’ job. Instead, they would welcome the opportunity to either:

  • Start work before 9am, enabling them to finish before 5pm (57%)
  • Work longer hours in order to shorten the length of the working week (48%)

As HR News suggests, professionals would clearly like to carve out some extra time for themselves in a bid to achieve an improved work-life balance.

Looking outside the UK

Have other countries managed to achieve this balance? The stats would suggest so, with countries offering the most flexible working opportunities also scoring higher on employee happiness and engagement ratings.

Identifying your own career priorities

This is an aspect we highly recommend spending some time thinking about. Especially if you’re ready to search for a new job, or think you may be ready to do so soon.

Knowing your priorities really helps you refine your job search; especially if you’re considering one of a few possible career paths.

You’ll see this topic is discussed further in our 7 Days of Job Hunting Tips…an essential guide for anyone wanting to stand out from the (candidate) crowd!

Should commuting time be part of the working day?

Do we all need to rethink our approach to commuting?

It’s almost a year since we asked how you felt about your commute. Then, the news explored the cost of travelling to and from work (both in terms of time and money). Employees also said they would leave their jobs in order to obtain a shorter commute.

So how have things changed since then?

Your commute could become part of your regular working day…

This research has been conducted by the nearby University of the West of England. On surveying 5,000 rail users commuting into London, they found:

  • Many people are using their pre-work journey to manage emails before they arrive at work.
  • The homeward journey offers a ‘catch-up’ opportunity for any tasks not tackled in time.
  • This activity has become more common as Wi-Fi accessibility has improved.

The mental and/or emotional benefits of train-based work also become clearer. Words such as ‘rely’, ‘important’, ‘sanity’, ‘buffer’ and ‘clear’ illustrate the value of this commuting time for employees.

Before we all agree that train journeys should automatically become part of the normal working day, it’s important to weigh up the prospective benefits and pitfalls. This should also encompass the technological, security, legal, and regulatory commitments required, of course.

Personnel Today shares some interesting commentary on these aspects.

Avoiding commuting is the main reason to work from home

Avoiding a commute is one of the primary motivators to work from home; both for those that already do so (51%) and those who are office-based (64%). Compiling the findings from both groups took this motivation to the top of the results chart.

This narrowly pipped flexible working opportunities (45% for home workers and 50% for the office-based employees). Being able to dress as you wish and undertake your work without interruption also proved popular responses.

Interestingly, 73% of non-home workers are potentially tempted to work from home in future.

How things have changed…

It doesn’t appear that employees’ attitudes towards commuting have changed greatly over the past year. For many, it is something to endure or avoid. However, a growing group clearly finds some working benefits. Time will reveal how these findings shape our future working culture.

We’re also interested to hear your thoughts and experiences via Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

If your commute has been getting you down for far too long, you may want to review the latest jobs listings!

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.

Craving a career change!

Career change is on almost half of the nation’s minds, according to the London School of Business & Finance (LSBF)…

The LSBF Careers Report aims to answer one key question: ‘are UK professionals looking to change careers?’ Yet it also goes much further into exploring the feelings that underpin career change, and the blocks that are currently preventing it.

For reference, a career change goes beyond a regular job switch and enters the realms of a new job sector/industry/arena in which you have little to no prior experience.

TIP: already know you want to make your own career change? Read on for a link to our top career change advice post!

Career change hopefuls: how do you compare?

Looking to make the change:

  • 47% of workers would like to switch careers.
  • This figure rises to 66% among millennials (those aged 18-34).
  • 23% of people actually ‘regret’ their present career.
  • Again, this stat rises to 30% for younger workers (in this case, people aged 25-34).
  • It falls to 19% for the over-55 category.
  • Statistically, this means that if you remove the over-55 category from the pool, more than half of workers crave career change (56%).

As for regional differences…

  • Cardiff is the most satisfied city, with 68% of its respondents reporting career contentment.
  • The South-West mirrors the UK average, with 47% of workers craving a change.
  • Glasgow is the least content, with 58% desiring change.
  • Perhaps surprisingly, Londoners are in second (least satisfied) place at 55%.

Why do people want to change career?

  • Increased salary offerings are attracting most workers (39% for all and 54% for millennials).
  • Yet it’s work-life balance that’s most appealing to workers aged 35 to 44 (37%).
  • 34% are seeking greater job satisfaction.
  • 14% desire increased ‘status’.
  • Workers aged over 55 are most drawn to increased salaries (24%) or work-life balance (21%).

When will people make the change?

  • 54% of millennials hope to do so within two years or sooner; 26% say within the coming year.
  • Looking at all age groups, most people are unsure as to when this will happen (31%).
  • Sadly, more than 1/4 (28%) don’t think they ever will be able to do so.
  • 15% feel more hopeful, thinking they could make a career change within 12 months.

What’s stopping people from making their career change happen?

  • 38% of workers aren’t making the move as they’re simply satisfied with their existing job.
  • 29% of people see ‘financial insecurity’ as their primary block. 41% of millennials report this concern.
  • 20% say they don’t know which career they’d switch to.
  • Fear of failure is the primary block for 15% of respondents.
  • While 14% can’t do so due to family or social life disruptions.

Behind the stats

LSBF drew some interesting points from their analysis and we’d encourage you to read the report if you get the chance.

They attribute the increasing confidence towards career changes to the ‘solid growth’ that has been observed in the jobs market over the past few years.

Dr Steve Priddy, the LSBF Director of Research and Academic Dean, is excited to see the drive expressed by the younger demographic. Priddy remarks “it is one of my greatest pleasures to see young people interested in breaking barriers and trying and achieving more for themselves. From my perspective, what is important before any major career move is to ensure you are appropriately qualified to take on the new role and to understand the sector well enough in order to make the most of potential opportunities and to navigate the system as if an insider”.

Working towards your career change…

May we remind you that some of the most successful people have indeed made major career changes after the age of 30 (and well beyond!).

As Priddy suggests, a successful switch takes a smart approach. Our career change FAQ offers some expert insights to get you started.

Dissatisfied at work? What the research says…

Feeling dissatisfied with your daily work? Research suggests we’re at risk of spending six and a half years of our lives feeling this way. But what do these findings tell us about job satisfaction in Bath?

The stats (published by HR News) suggest that almost 1/3 of workers spend half of their time at work with a sense of job dissatisfaction. This mounts up to…

  • 861 hours & 12 minutes each year.
  • Averaging 6 years, 6 months over the course of the current working lifetime!

Are certain jobs more likely to leave you feeling dissatisfied?

Research indicates that this could be the case. We’re interested to see that the top three most dissatisfied jobs include:

  • Customer service executives (37%)
  • Hospitality employees (34%)
  • Administrators (34%)

The remaining ‘most dissatisfied’ career roles are detailed in the original post.

However, let’s take a step back and look at the stats. Well over half of the professionals undertaking each of the above roles aren’t reporting this dissatisfaction. This suggests a highly individual response, as opposed to a job role-specific trend.

Do the results differ by city? And if so, how did Bath fare?

Indeed they do! What’s more, it’s wonderful news for Bath.

The area hit worst by employee dissatisfaction appears to be Wolverhampton, with 60% of respondents expressing such frustrations. As for Bath, it came in as one of the top four most satisfied cities with an impressively low 9% of dissatisfied workers.

Why are people so dissatisfied in the first place?

The main cause appears to be a heavy workload (50%) and its associated poor work-life balance. This is followed by an uneven distribution of work effort, disliking everyday responsibilities, challenging bosses and long commutes.

And why are these workers remaining dissatisfied for so long?

You may have already asked yourself ‘why aren’t they just leaving their jobs if they’re so unhappy?’ Six and a half years of life is, after all, rather a long time!

As already discussed, these findings are highly individual. Yet the vast majority (77%) of workers report the same underlying reason: “they believe they’re lacking the skills to get a different job” or they simply don’t know what else to do.

What to do with this information

If you’re one of the people feeling this way, you’d really benefit from reading our 7 Days of Job Hunting Tips. This article takes you through the steps that you need to do your background research (helping you work out exactly what’s out there and what you may be suited to).

Plus it also helps you to see your existing skills from a new perspective. If this sounds appealing, be sure to head to the Skills & Achievements Master-List mentioned in tip 6.

Measuring Job Quality

The first measure of Job Quality has officially been launched. What is it and what’s affecting job quality right now?

Who’s rating your Job Quality?

This measure comes from the CIPD in the form of a new annual survey. This means workers themselves will be rating their own job quality as well as its relative importance across a series of ‘seven dimensions’.

You may recall that the Taylor Review recommended such a measurement approach – and stated its importance across all job roles and arenas.

The results of the inaugural survey show:

  • Job satisfaction is relatively high at 64%. However, ‘low-level’ workers and middle managers are each facing high stress with poor support.
  • Furthermore, ‘low-skilled’ and casual workers are lacking development opportunities. 37% of this group has not received any training over the past year. What’s more, 43% say their ‘job did not give them opportunities to develop their skills’.
  • Middle managers are also experiencing the ill-effects of high stress. 35% report an excessively high workload, while 28% are facing mental health consequences.
  •  28% of middle management respondents are additionally struggling to maintain their personal commitments.

For further findings and the CIPD’s response, please refer to HR Magazine.

Thoughts from a recruitment agency…

It’s hard not to welcome any exploration of job satisfaction. This sits well with our recent report on the measurement of soft skills – something also proposed by the Taylor Review.

Both aspects are vital to the everyday functioning of our national workforce and place workers’ abilities and attitudes right at the heart of things.

The more that this is all discussed, the more employers will become aware of these topics. Hopefully leading to a happier and more productive workforce all-around!

What matters to you in your career or business needs? And what would you like to see more of on our news page? Tell us here.

When you’re both struggling with your careers

Have you hit that point when you’re both struggling with your careers and it’s taking a toll on your relationship? 

This is an issue that commonly crops up in our career conversations. Perhaps this is unsurprising, as we all know how life has that (not so!) funny habit of throwing everything at us all at once. So why aren’t we seeing this problem discussed more in the press?

Thankfully, The Muse has run an excellent article on this topic.

In summary, they recommend…

  • Respecting each other’s job hunting methods; recognising that these can often lead to the same result.
  • Using mutual encouragement to motivate you through the process – and teaming up for valuable interview practice.
  • Working out how best to support each other (as you may each be looking for a different response or support mechanism). Sometimes simply letting your partner vent without input!
  • Seeking external help where needed; whether from a career or relationship expert.

You can find all the advice in full here.

Some tips we’d like to add…

While The Muse piece is focusing on partners’ shared career struggles, experience shows this issue can crop up in other relationships. For instance, with housemates, siblings, parents and close friends. Even among similarly disgruntled colleagues!

We’d say the above advice all still applies…although you’re somewhat less likely to visit a relationship counsellor with your housemate or Jenny from Sales!

  • Buddy up: whatever the relationship, try to make yourself a job hunting ally. Where possible, chat through the elements that you’re each struggling with and where you would like some help and support.
  • Don’t let resentments build. When you’re in the job struggle bubble, you may forget to ask about their challenges. Try to check on them as much as (if not more than!) you vent. Arrange a regular catch-up slot if this works for you both.
  • Consult an expert. Just as The Muse suggests, this can help lessen the relationship burden. Although we’d like to add the idea of contacting a REC-accredited recruitment agency in your field. All member agencies have to adhere to a Code of Professional Practice, which means you get a best practice service along with your expert advice.
  • Find other things to talk about. It can become draining when all you think and talk about is finding a new job. Try to make some time together when you’re doing anything but this. And this doesn’t have to cost a penny – go for a walk together. Watch some shows or listen to some podcasts if you need work-free conversation fodder!
  • If necessary, create some space. This is less easy to do with your partner than in other relationships. However, if the buddy system’s not working you may want to invest your time and energy in other less strained relationships. Dependent on how things are going, you might want to explain your absence as a focused effort to avoid further relationship challenges. Let that person know you’re still there for them if they need you.

Bored of your job hunting strategy?

Refresh your approach. See if there’s anything you haven’t tried from our 7 Days of Job Hunting Tips or make like the pros and think like a brand!

Let us know what you want to see more of in future for better-tailored career and recruitment advice.

Should colleagues be friends?

How well do you need to get on with your co-workers? Should your colleagues be friends?

Over the past six months, this topic has formed multiple posts on Stylist magazine. We’ve linked these below (however, warning, some of their ads feature auto-play video).

It’s not just Stylist discussing this topic. In fact we’ve seen it raised by an assortment of news sites, lifestyle magazines and even Mumsnet.

Why is this such a conversation starter?

Most likely because the question of whether our colleagues should be friends is a complex one. Plus, at the same time, it’s a scenario that we can encounter on an almost daily basis.

To summarise what we’ve read so far:

  • Many people feel the pressure to make friends with colleagues simply due to the sheer amount of time they spend together.
  • Yet for many others, this is just a natural human bonding process and one that can run pretty deep. To the extent that it’s led to the buzzword and hashtag ‘Work Wife’.
  • Working alongside your closest friends can actually lead to better results, with studies suggesting our performance is improved through these trusting relationships.
  • That said, issues can naturally arise when friendships face difficulties and/or personal boundaries are crossed. One example described the moment a colleague confided in them about their affair with another team member. Another, the situation when a former ‘best friend’ threatened to reveal private WhatsApp messages regarding a host of work complaints.
  • Unsurprisingly, findings suggest that it’s easier to disagree with ‘non-friend’ colleagues on a day-to-day (i.e. work project!) basis. And that the ramifications of falling out with a close friend at work can be disastrous. So much so, people leave roles as a result.
  • But these are worst-case scenarios. And, on the whole, working with friends can generally make us feel good. When you’re waking up to a fresh 40-hour week, who doesn’t want that?!

So, what does this all really tell us?

That essentially there’s no set answer to this question! Actor Kim Cattrall put it well: “no, colleagues don’t need to be friends; you can just come together and do a job well and then part without guilt”.

We like this quote on several levels. Firstly, the use of the word ‘need’. If you’ve naturally become good friends and work well together, then that’s great. Yet this is by no means compulsory and it doesn’t make you a bad employee or colleague if you don’t experience this.

The main thing we draw from this quote (and the conversation in general) is how essential it is that you can simply work well with and alongside your colleagues. That you can each perform your daily tasks to your best ability.

If you can’t, then other questions come to mind. Do you need to speak to management or HR about any specific concerns? Are thoughts of colleagues causing you an inordinate amount of stress in or outside of work? Is there anything stopping you from looking for a fresh start elsewhere?

Some extra considerations

  • It’s fine to draw boundaries. You don’t have to add colleagues on Facebook and/or invite them to your wedding/birthday party/any other event if you don’t want to! It’s also okay to meet for drinks and have a laugh without revealing your innermost thoughts and secrets. And especially if you’re new to the team!
  • There are a few extra rules you may wish to follow. TheMuse shares five here – regarding boss-employee friendships, consideration, cliques, how much to be yourself, and the timing of things.

Colleagues driven you to distraction and beyond? Here are our insider tips to becoming an expert job hunter!

Stylist Sources (& remember those auto-play ads!):