Getting to the office early and leaving late means that many UK workers are providing thousands of hours of free labour to their employees. Many workers in the UK are giving over 1,000 unpaid hours of labour to their employers every year by starting early and finishing late. According to new research from Hitachi Personal Finance, 49% of workers in Britan arrive at work early and 48% stay late, resulting in a large chunk of free labour for companies. Across the average working lifetime, this means that people work an extra 1,834 extra days for free. That’s 42 days every year and a total of five years, just by staying late or getting in early and all without being compensated for the extra time. Arriving at work early Even if you don’t stay late regularly or shoot out of the door at 5pm on the dot no matter what, the chances are you still get into work early. If you’re already in the office, you might as well start working, right? Even just getting into work 20 minutes early each day, you are providing a huge amount of free labour. In fact, a third of people get to work 20 minutes early every day, with each one of those working an extra 147 days more in their lifetime than they are being paid for. Some 15% of workers in the UK get into work 45 minutes early each day, accounting for an extra 330 days of work throughout their lifetime. For the 2% who arrive at the office an hour earlier than they should, they are working an extra 440 days – all unpaid. In total, this means that Brits are spending an extra 917 days working throughout their lifetime simply by arriving at work early, without being compensated for doing so. Leaving work late It can be all too easy to leave work late, especially if you have a heavy workload or are in the middle of a task that needs to be finished. However, not making sure you’re out the door as soon as your day is over can also mean you’re left working extra hours every month. Around 30% of UK workers admit to leaving their workplace by staying 20 minutes, while 14% head out 45 minutes after they are meant to. A further 5% ae staying even later than, which means Brits are adding on two and a half years to their lifetime of work – that’s 913 days. Working from home It isn’t just going into the office and leaving late that is the problem though, with so many people working from since lockdown, there has been a rise in over-working. A survey released in April showed that around 40% of those working from home during lockdown were working longer hours than they should in a standard workday. It seems that the blurred line between work and home has left many people unable to separate the two, with 21% saying they can’t switch off from work when doing their job from home. A further 12% say they feel that they are working less efficiently while 11% blame a workload that is heavier than usual. This increased workload or rise in working hours combined with the stress of being largely isolated, has resulted in more employees feeling mental distress. Missing work-life balance When you consider the fact that 61% of people have said that they would rather have a good work-life balance than a high salary, these figures are concerning. Either people are feeling too pressured to over-perform or their companies are not helping to promote this balance. Either way, a culture shift is needed in order to ensure people are not over-working themselves and that organisations ensure the wellbeing of their staff – even if this means forcing them out of the door at the end of the day.