How many work hours are you putting in?

work and time

work and timeMany of us are working extended hours to provide for our families during these difficult economic times, so it might not come as a complete surprise to learn that the average UK full-time employee works more than an hour longer a week than most of their European counterparts.

The Office for National Statistics revealed that the average working week for a UK employee is 42.7 hours, compared to the European average of 41.6 hours.

It also emerged that we're spending considerably longer in the office than people working in countries like Denmark, which at 39.1, has the shortest working week on the continent.

For some of us it can seem like we're taking one step forward and two steps back; working more to try and raise the necessary funds for the family budget, but then not being able to utilise time with our loved ones due to long hours, stress and tiredness.

More than a quarter (27%) of our UK workforce is now made up of part-time employees, such as mums returning to work.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "These figures shine a light on the valuable but too often unrewarded extra hours that UK workers put in every week.

"Employers should do more to recognise the unpaid overtime that their staff do, which contributes £29 billion to the UK economy every year.

"But while average hours are falling across the economy - both as a result of the recession and changes in working practices - UK workers are still doing the third longest shifts in Europe, with only Austrians and Greeks working longer.

"Smarter working practises and an end to pointless presenteeism would help make staff more productive and get a better work-life balance."

With work taking up an significant chunk of our lives, finding the balance between work and play is not always easy, so this guide on work-life balance could be of use.