Up to 9.7 million people who are only contracted to work Monday to Friday have their weekends disturbed by work related issues, according to new research from MetLife Employee Benefits.

Around half (47%) of employees have had to put in extra hours at the weekend. On average, eight weekends in a year are intruded by work for employees, but 14 percent have admitted to working up to 21 weekends.

It would appear we are a nation who struggle to relax, but according to the study women are more likely to suffer than men. 30 percent of women who experience weekends disturbed by work admit they struggle to switch off compared with 32 percent of men.

The study reveals that two thirds (66%) of full time employees are not contracted to work weekends (70% of men against 61% of women), which is the equivalent of around 20.79 million employees.

Overbearing workloads appear to be a major cause of disruption with 52 percent of women and 42 percent of men stating they use weekends to catch up on work. 23 percent of unpaid weekend employees had to pitch in when a crisis happened, while 13 percent say their employer wants them on call at all times.

Tom Gaynor, Employee Benefits director of MetLife UK, says:

“Uncontracted weekend working is a creeping condition than can decay overall productivity and performance.  Disrupted and sometimes ruined weekends are becoming a disturbing feature of British life that has deep societal implications.

“The role of managers is vital in guiding employees so that there is a better understanding of workload requirements and priorities.  Weekend working can lead to unnecessary stress, impaired performance and ultimately absence. There is little wonder the UK has a productivity gap when we learn through surveys like MetLife’s that many employees will not have benefited from proper rest and relaxation in advance of Monday morning.”







Amie Filcher is an editorial assistant at HRreview.