Working beyond traditional working hours is harming the mental wellbeing of employees, according to research from Lockton.


The researchers found that a quarter (26%) of employees find working outside of traditional working hours harms their mental wellbeing, and 20% of staff believe it negatively affects their output.


Despite this, three quarters (74%) of large firms’ staff are contractually obliged to be available outside office hours, and over a third (36%) of HR Directors surveyed note that being online at home is expected as part of a role at their company.


Chris Rofe, Senior Vice President of UK and International Benefits Practice at Lockton, warned that many employers are ‘not walking the talk’ when it comes to work life balance. “With employers spending millions on health and wellbeing initiatives, many are failing to acknowledge one of the biggest risks to their employees’ health and wellbeing,” he said.


“This just doesn’t make sense and leaves employees performing sub optimally or at worst, burning out altogether. Even the most dedicated and driven employees reach their limit and employers owe it to all employees to ensure appropriate down time to re-charge and re-energise.”


Grace Marshall, a Productivity Expert, previously warned that many firms are measuring their staff against the wrong metrics. “Bosses who judge their workers by how many meetings they attend, emails they send and hours they work send a signal that visibility is more important than productivity,” she explained.


“But what looks like work isn’t always productive. In fact, it could be creating more work!”


Instead, she said companies who give their workers the incentive and flexibility to determine how they do their best work – and reward them based on the impact and value they create rather than the hours they put in – are the ones who will see the best returns in productivity. “[They will have a] much more focused workforce, greater job satisfaction and improved work life balance,” she said.