What Office Workers REALLY Get Up To During the Working Week

Last week we revealed some fascinating numbers associated with the growth and post-recession comeback of the UK’s business centre market.

Now thanks to Avanta Serviced Office Group, we’re privy to yet more intriguing research on the serviced office industry. However, this set of numbers tells quite a different story.

Focused on London, the research delves deep into the lifestyle habits of office workers in the capital. For instance employees and business owners with an office in London’s financial district are more likely to work the longest hours – but that doesn’t mean they burn the midnight oil alone every night. Once they’ve fled the office, they’re more likely to be out enjoying London’s social scene than tucked up in bed.

Of 1,500 London office workers polled, Avanta’s research found that those based in The City work an average of 45.3 hours per week, and spend at least two nights out. They also have the highest number of hangovers on a weekly basis.

Lifestyle choice

In fact, the research sheds an interesting light on the lifestyle preferences and even the personalities of office workers, based on where their office is located.

In contrast to City office workers’ ‘work hard play hard’ mentality, those based in Hammersmith and Fulham prefer to finish early and relax with a home-cooked meal at night.

Workers in Camden reportedly take the longest lunches – a leisurely 42 minutes, 20% longer than the London average – and they also get in to the office later than workers elsewhere.

Commute

Perhaps the biggest bugbear of any office worker is the daily commute, and Avanta’s research spills the beans on some of the laborious journeys faced by the capital’s workers.

West Enders are the city’s biggest tube-users and face 57 minutes on average, while the most unfortunate commuters can be found in Southwark. Here, workers travel for over an hour (62 minutes) to get in, compared to a cross-London average of around 45 minutes.

But not all London workers rely on the underground.

Those in Islington are the most green-conscious, with almost one in five (17%) cycling to work, nearly three times the average (6%). Around 50% of those in Islington walk to the office, 20 percentage points higher than the norm.

Tipping the balance

The results of this survey offer a fun glimpse into the lives of London office workers – but there’s a serious side too.

In addition to long days and longer nights out, the study found that many employees continue working once they get home of an evening. Of course this is nothing new. But it does add more weight to the theory that the work/life balance is tipping the wrong way.

Studies into smartphone usage, email overload and unpaid overtime continue to raise concerns over workers’ wellbeing. Across the UK, work-related stress affects one in five of the working population and is the single biggest cause of sickness in the UK (research by Health and Safety Executive). Over 105 million days are lost to stress each year – costing UK employers £1.24 billion.

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It certainly pays to keep tabs on stress. Long days in the office, big nights out and evenings in front of a laptop simply aren’t sustainable. So if you can’t remember the last time you took a full lunch hour or left on time, perhaps it’s time to re-adjust the balance. You can start by following Camden’s lead and take a full lunch hour every day. It’s a small but significant step in the right direction.

The online survey was conducted among 1,500 London office workers by Redshift Research in October 2014.

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