Miserable Britain; are long working hours the cause?
Working in Britain compared to other countries typically means working long days, carrying out demanding tasks and taking breaks that are few and far between. Working life can be tough, often leaving us feeling exhausted, deflated and lacking in motivation.
Are there certain jobs making us more miserable than others?
Recent research Fish4jobs carried out has highlighted that a third of Brits (32 per cent) spend half of their annual working hours feeling dissatisfied and unhappy at work. This equates on average to 861 hours and 12 minutes each year and six years and six months in the average lifetime - quite staggering.
The survey was rolled out to include people who are in the public eye to see if they experience the same level of job dissatisfaction compared to the average worker in Britain. The results uncovered some interesting findings. For instance, Boris Johnson spent the equivalent of 72 days unhappy in his role as Foreign Secretary whereas with Teresa May, it would seem, when applying the same formula, she has spent at least two and a half months dissatisfied in the role as Prime minister.
People in the public eye have tough working days like the rest of us however it should be noted that their days-off are unlike ours, they cannot escape the public eye. This undoubtably makes it more stressful for them as they have little privacy in their free time.
Over 2,000 people working in the UK were surveyed. It found there was a correlation between job dissatisfaction, industry and location.
The four unhappiest places geographically to work are as follows:
- Wolverhampton (60 per cent)
- Sunderland (50 per cent)
- Carlisle (50 per cent)
- Walsall (50 per cent)
However, job dissatisfaction varied dramatically depending on the profession. As the list below shows, Customer service roles came out with the highest proportion of dissatisfied workers.
- 37% of customer service executives
- 34% of hospitality employees
- 34% of administrators
- 33% of shop workers
- 28% of nurses and care workers
- 24% of teachers
- 24% of van and truck drivers
- 16% of construction workers
In the list above, all of professions listed have long working hours and deal with the public in some form or another. Is working long hours a key factor contributing to our unhappiness? Should we be working shorter hours like our continental friends?
Plans for a Four day week?
The work life balance is becoming more and more difficult to define with greater access to technology working from home is easier than ever. With flexible working on the rise would individuals be able to readjust and work less?
This is as a result of advances in technology that allow us to access work remotely wherever and whenever we want. Instead of leaving work at 5pm and not returning until the following day, many individuals will work from home in the evenings in addition their contracted hours. This type of behaviour is undoubtedly part of the cause for those who noted unhappiness at work in the survey discussed above.
Unions have recently suggested that a four-day working week would be feasible owing to the benefits of new modern technology. At TUC’s annual conference they called on the government to act to help people work less but get paid the same. There is a belief that artificial intelligence and robotics could provide a £200bn boost to the UK economy in the next decade and rather than seeing it as having a negative impact on employees we should look at it as a means of freeing up more of our time.
Feeling miserable at work?
Feeling dissatisfied and overworked influences our performance, state of job satisfaction and mental health. We should all feel comfortable speaking to our employers if something isn’t right without any repercussions.
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