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UK employees work the longest hours but are the least productive – and office flirting is to blame

A cup of coffee with heart pattern on a desk

The productivity gap continues to make headlines with recent OECD statistics showing that British workers are on average 8% less productive per hour than workers in the US, 1% less productive than French workers and 14% down than Germans.

And a new study indicates there might be a simple reason for the gap – the British office culture.

According to the nationwide survey, the average British office employee manages to get through just 3 hours of actual work per day, despite working longer hours than anywhere else in Europe.

The research found that the average office worker spends up to 5 hours on non-work related activities every day, including chatting and flirting with colleagues, online shopping, and doing the tea run.

When you combine this with the fact that British workers stay longer in the office than their European counterparts, it’s no surprise the output per hour is low.

The study, by Ginger Research, found a culture of long working hours persists, with almost half (46%) of British workers admitting they routinely stayed at work longer than they needed to because everyone else does.

In fact, one in ten (12%) of Brits said they work overtime with the sole purpose of looking busy, not because of the pressure of their workloads.

And 30% admitted that they could be more productive than they are, while 17% claimed that, if their bosses knew what they were really doing at work, there would be trouble.

The study, of 1,000 British office workers, found a staggering 64% of respondents said that they believe they could fit their day’s work into a shorter period of time.

When asked what would make them more productive, HALF of British workers said a pay rise, 28% flexible hours, and 27% four-day week.

And almost 2 in 10 (18%) believed the structure of their company is not the best for productivity.

A quarter of those polled thought working from home would improve their performance, while 18% said a quieter office would do the trick.

The study also found that – as well as staying late – only 24% of office workers never work through their lunch breaks, And a third (34%) work through their lunches every single day.

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