According to the 2017 Modern Families Index, 41% of parents in the UK are working overtime on a regular basis or all the time.

According to the 2017 Modern Families Index, 41% of parents in the UK are working overtime on a regular basis or all the time. This rises to more than 60% for those who live in London with parents also admitting to working evenings and weekends.

Further data collected by Working Families and Bright Horizons also found that only a third of working parents go home on time every day. Why exactly are parents putting in so many extra hours?

  • 67% say they have to in order to deal with their workload
  • 57% say they simply don’t have the time to get proper planning and thinking done
  • 54% say it’s the culture of the organisation
  • 47% say it’s because of their manager’s attitude

It won’t come as a huge surprise to learn that the report has also highlighted that working parents are far from happy with their current situation. 36% of those surveyed said that they would happily take a pay cut if it meant that they could work fewer hours. 50% said that their workload is a source of stress for them and 37% feel resentful towards their employer because of their poor work/life balance.

Head of policy and communications at Working Families, Mubeen Bhutta commented:

“At its simplest, employers need to be designing human-sized jobs that fit in with the hours allocated to them. We know that the number one reason parents are putting in extra hours is simply to get the job done. This isn’t sustainable.”

She continued:

“Technology can also blur the boundaries between work and home life, but employers could set clear parameters around when they expect their people to be available. Stress at home can spill back into workplace stress so this can be a vicious circle. Longer working hours erode productivity – poor work/life balance is bad for business and bad for families”

How to improve your work/life balance

Naturally, it can be very difficult to switch off from work, especially if you’ve got a lot to do or you’re worried about a particular project. Establishing a good work/life balance is crucial however, not just for your mental health, but also so you can enjoy being with your family.

Below are some great tips for improving your work/life balance:

  • Turn off your phone – if you have a dedicated work phone, turn it off in the evenings and at the weekend. If you use your phone for business and personal use, it may be worth disabling your work emails so you’re not tempted to check them while you’re out for dinner with the kids. 
  • Use your holiday allowance – if you never take time off, you will eventually burn out. Whether you book a family holiday, take a few days off to spend with the kids during the summer or you simply want some time to yourself, use your holiday allowance to get some well-deserved rest. 
  • Communicate with your manager – if your manager is piling an increasing amount of work on you, they may simply be unaware that you’re struggling. If you get on with it without complaining, they’re going to be none the wiser that you’re actually working overtime to get everything done. Let them know that you’re overwhelmed and could do with some help. 
  • Learn to delegate – if you’re in a position to delegate work to others, do it. We often take on far too much when there are other people who are more than happy and capable of lending a hand. 


Image source: ambro@freedigitalphotos.net