Offices see dramatic increase in workloads over past year

Workloads in offices around the UK have gone up markedly over the last year, resulting in increased stress levels as employees work longer hours and have less time for their families and holidays.

Nearly six in ten (58 per cent) employees feel that their workloads have gone up, with a fifth stating work demands have gone up ‘significantly’, according to a study by Wrike.

Some 47 per cent of UK employees across all sectors work longer hours to get the job done than a year ago, with a third of managers confirming that they expect workers to put in extra time and take fewer breaks to tick off their growing task lists.

The biggest impact of this changing workload culturally is an increase in perceived stress levels, with nearly two thirds of respondents concerned stating that they are feeling more stressed compared to a year ago (62 per cent).

This puts the UK second only to Germany, where two thirds feel their stress level has increased, and slightly ahead of France (60 per cent).

The changing workload has a dramatic effect on time available for family and holidays. It shows that close to a third (31 per cent) of those affected now spend less time with their family than a year ago, 28 per cent have less time available to take for holidays and a quarter now work more at weekends than they used to.

Taken together, only a fifth of UK workers think their working hours are fine, and three in five (59 per cent) would work fewer hours, either if they could afford it financially or their workloads could be adjusted accordingly.

Technology is perceived by the majority as being key to helping workers stay abreast of their expanding task list, making it easier to work remotely, share information, and increase productivity. In fact, in spite of rising workloads, more than a quarter of workers feel they and their teams had become more productive over the last year.

Andrew Filev, founder and CEO of Wrike feels that the problem is that the systems and processes businesses have are not keeping up with increasing workloads, and this is taking a toll on workers.

‘They need better ways of managing the sheer volume of work requests and demands. At the same time, business leaders need a clear view of workloads – and realistic expectations as to the amount of work staff can handle at once, without burning out.

‘You wouldn’t overload a piece of machinery and expect it to last long without failure. The same principles apply to humans, especially if you expect them to produce high-quality work on a consistent basis.’

Further reading on workloads

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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