Britain is a nation of workaholics. A study of 2,000 office workers found that four in 10 adults admitted they cannot leave work alone and one in six frequently spends more than 11 hours a week working when they are away from the office, checking emails and making calls.
And while almost half say they enjoy their work, 65 per cent hate the fact they’re constantly taking it home with them. Incredibly, just three per cent of those polled leave on time every day – and don’t need to take on additional work.
Never taking a lunch break, working on weekends and always being the last one to leave the office were identified as signs of workaholics. Ignoring the family, feeling anxious about not working and seeing the boss more than a partner also feature in the top 20 list. The study also found a third of Brits think they would be considered a workaholic by others.
More than a quarter of those polled have experienced waking up in the middle of the night thinking about work, with one in five admitting to checking their emails in bed. A third also check their emails as soon as they wake up – with 57 per cent taking a sneaky peak across the weekend, and 30 per cent checking them throughout the night.
About one in 10 have also admitted to taking a work call at an inappropriate time such as a wedding, funeral or even during sex. Despite attempting to spend quality time with those closest to them, one in five adults will take a work call or check emails while they’re with their nearest and dearest.
Unable to leave work alone, 16 per cent admitted they can’t eat a meal without checking emails and as a result of working so hard, one in five have suffered a health problem. Despite having contracted hours, nearly a third of adults will work over these four to five days per week.
Last-minute demands, peace of mind knowing a task is done and employers dishing out unreasonable workloads are among the most common reasons for staying late at work. And nearly a quarter will work that little bit extra simply to avoid issues with their boss.
After all the hard work, many agreed that it has taken its toll on their relationships – with one in five prioritising work over their personal life. Interestingly, just over 30 per cent think the work they do is worth the sacrifices they make at home.
Showing next level commitment, one in four admitted they would put their own health at risk to complete a work task – though 66 per cent said impacting their health for a job is simply one step too far.
Despite all this effort, nearly half of respondents said they don’t think the additional hours they put in each week would benefit their career progression.
Geoffrey Dennis of SPANA said: “Being overworked can clearly have some very negative consequences, impacting everything from mental and physical health to quality of relationships.
“Many workers are showing real dedication and hard graft, and it’s not without sacrifices.
“Thankfully, there is an increasing focus on work-life balance, and a recognition that taking time to reset and recover is beneficial all round.
“Getting the work-life balance right is a challenge, but leisure time is not a luxury enjoyed by working animals overseas.
“Working horses, donkeys, camels and other animals in developing countries often endure short, painful lives – working every day in extreme environments.
“That’s why SPANA’s work is so important – ensuring that the welfare of working animals is improved and that they receive the veterinary treatment they urgently need when they are sick or injured.”
TOP 20 SIGNS OF A WORKAHOLIC
1. Never taking a lunch break
2. Working on weekends
3. Always being the last to leave the office
4. Waking in the night thinking about work
5. You can’t stop yourself checking your emails on your phone while in front of the TV
6. Always taking your work laptop on holiday with you
7. Always being the first in the office
8. You check your emails in the middle of the night
9. Never ignoring calls from clients, even in personal time
10. Phoning into work on your day off to check everything is okay
11. Never ignoring a call from the boss, even in personal time
12. Feeling anxious and uneasy when not working
13. Ignoring your family when they are talking to you because you’re working
14. Your partner regularly accuses you of working all the time
15. Regularly missing the children’s parents evening and sports days
16. Waking long before your alarm clock worrying about the day ahead
17. You work even when watching your child at their various sports or clubs
18. Your children pick up on the fact you are working all the time
19. Offering to cover for people when it isn’t your turn to work
20. You see your boss more than you see your partner