With ever more work requests, documents, and demands coming at us in the office, who hasn't had to put off that family theatre outing or missed their children's bedtime just to stay on top of things at work? We've probably all been there. 

Now a new study from Wrike about digital working culture and its impact on the lives of office workers in the UK, France, and Germany confirms that we're not alone. British offices are creaking under the pressure of work, resulting in less time for family and rest and heightened stress levels. The majority of British workers would work fewer hours — if only they could afford it financially or their workloads could be adjusted accordingly. 

The "Wrike Digital Working Report" survey was conducted by OnePoll in August 2016 among 3,000 office workers, with 1,000 respondents each in the UK, France, and Germany. Key findings for the UK were:

  • 58% of respondents felt that their workload had gone up to some extent, with a fifth stating it had gone up ‘significantly.’ 
  • 47% of people whose workloads had changed work longer hours to get the job done.
  • 62% said that they were feeling more stressed compared to a year ago, due to changed workloads. This put the UK second only to Germany, where two-thirds felt their stress level had increased, and slightly ahead of France (60%).
  • 31% now spend less time with their family than a year ago.
  • 28% have less time available to take holidays.
  • 25% now work more at weekends than they used to.

The drop in personal time was felt even more strongly in the other markets surveyed, with more than half the respondents in Germany and well over a third in France stating that their family time had decreased.

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

40% of managers say they now expect their employees to work longer hours and 33% say they need to take fewer breaks to meet increased demands on them.

Technology is perceived by the majority as being key to helping workers stay abreast of their expanding task list, making it easer to share information and increase productivity, while expanding on the idea that remote work is better for some employees.

But it seems that in spite of all the help technology can provide, we've still got to find better ways to get a grip on workloads while also getting leaders to have more realistic expectations as to the amount of work staff can handle without burning out. 

Less family time as stress levels soar in UK offices