Working for free?

If you had an extra 17 hours per month, what would you want to do with them?

For most of you, the last thing you will be thinking is, “sitting at my desk catching up on emails”, and yet from a report released by Maxis Global Benefits Network (GBN) today, that is exactly what we are doing.

According to the study, 79% of us in the UK are working in an office environment where the expectation is that we are glued to our desks all day and lunch breaks are a thing of the past. Because of this, we are working on average 17 hours overtime each month.

So, why are we giving our time away for free?


Getting the culture right in your organisation is key and as this study reports, 80% of people take into account the culture of a workplace when applying for jobs. This could mean that if you have a poor culture, you are losing potential talent before it even comes through the door!

If your office culture is for employees to be seen at their desks, take note! It may not make them more productive. There is a misconception that more office hours = more work, this however may not be the case. ‘Desk-time culture’ may be making your employees ‘spread’ their work to fit the hours they are in the office which means they are not utilising time efficiently. It can also increase stress, anxiety, and the amount of sick-days staff take which will impact overall productivity.

The Maxis GBN research shows that 50% of employees look for a new job if the workplace culture is poor. ‘Desk-time culture’ ostracises employees who may not be able to work overtime, even if they are completing their assigned tasks and excelling in their work. A common, misguided, perception of these employees is that they are less dedicated and less productive, this is often not the case. Whilst these employees may have talent, the culture of the organisation may lead them to take this talent elsewhere by seeking alternative employment.

If you need any organisational culture advice or help with your overtime policies, get in touch with us.

If you are interested in this study, read more about it here!


Looking for an insightful and informative read on the world of HR? Look no further than Harwood HR blogs!

Psychological Contract

What is the Benefit of an Employment Contract in the UK?

An employment contract is a legally binding agreement that outlines the terms and conditions between an employer and an employee. It is a legal requirement to provide an employee with...

Read more