It's no myth that many of us are working harder. A study published last year found that just 6% of UK employees are now putting in the once customary "9 to 5" working week.
But working more than 55 hours a week – the equivalent of pulling a "9 to 8", for example – can have a detrimental effect on mental health, and especially the mental health of women. It's not too surprising that the TUC (Trade Unions Congress) has recently urged the government to introduce an additional four bank holidays a year in order to reduce the number of working days lost to anxiety and stress.
Now, a new study by Thinkmoney has revealed significant regional variations in the average number of hours that employees put in.
Employees in Scotland and the East of England – the regions where people work the longest hours – put in 67 hours a year more than workers in Wales, the region where people work the shortest hours. That's the equivalent to around 10 working days a year.
Working hours in London are relatively lengthy, but employees in the capital still work an average of two days less each year than employees in Scotland and the East of England.
Below, check out the average number of days worked a year by employees in all UK regions, including any hours of paid overtime.
1. Scotland (2007.2 hours worked a year – equivalent to 287 days)
1. East of England (2007.2 hours worked a year – equivalent to 287 days)
3. Yorkshire & the Humber (2002 hours worked a year - equivalent to 286 days)
4. West Midlands (1,996.8 hours worked a year - equivalent to 285 days)
4. London (1,996.8 hours worked a year - equivalent to 285 days)
6. East Midlands (1,986.4 hours worked a year - equivalent to 284 days)
7. North East (1,970.8 hours worked a year - equivalent to 282 days)
7. South West (1,970.8 hours worked a year - equivalent to 282 days)
9. North West (1,965.6 hours worked a year - equivalent to 281 days)
10. South East (1,960.4 hours worked a year - equivalent to 280 days)
11. Northern Ireland (1950 hours worked a year - equivalent to 279 days)
12. Wales (1936.6 hours worked a year - equivalent to 277 days)
Responding to the study's results, life coach Kiran Singh reaffirmed the importance of achieving a healthy work-life balance, telling Thinkmoney: "The pressure of having to keep everything together can often feel just too much. If this feels like you, it’s time to reassess and get your life into perspective."
In France, the government introduced a standard 35-hour working week nearly two decades ago in a bid to boost workers' productivity and quality of life. A group of French women recently spoke to Refinery29 about the pros and cons of this system.