Over half of employees in small and medium firms regularly work unpaid overtime 0

Long working hours are embedded into Small and medium sized firm’s (SME) culture, new research by AXA PPP healthcare has claimed, with 47 percent of employees in SMEs across the UK regularly working four or more hours of overtime per week, 27 percent of these putting in seven or more hours and for half (52 percent), the extra hours are unpaid. In addition, 22 percent of employees take fewer than 30 minutes for lunch, 19 percent have cancelled family time and 19 percent have missed a child’s event such as a school play due to working over and above their contracted hours. Over half (54 percent) of employees have continued to work after putting children to bed. With Britain’s small and medium sized firms making up 99.9 percent of the UK’s private sector businesses, employing nearly 3/5 of its workforce and accounting for 48 percent of the turnover this accounts for a lot of workers.

Such full-on pursuit of commercial success may be putting owners and employees of these businesses at increased risk of ill health and burnout. Described as a type of stress, office burnout can manifest itself as a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.

“Small and medium sized businesses are the backbone of the economy – driving innovation, enterprise and growth,” comments Dr Gary Bolger, Chief Medical Officer at AXA PPP healthcare. “Their commitment is commendable yet our study shows that owners and bosses may be putting themselves and their employees at increased risk of burnout and ill health through protracted overwork.”

As a result of the research, the small business experts at AXA PPP healthcare have released this short animation, in order to help employers spot the signs of burnout, in their staff or themselves.