Do you work too much? You probably do, but have you ever worked out exactly how much extra unpaid overtime you do? All that working through lunch and going home late, it all adds up. The TUC have worked out that the average Briton works the equivalent of 55 unpaid days a year, which means they stop doing unpaid work (and start getting paid) on February 25. Which is why today is Work Your Proper Hours Day, a day for the downtrodden worker to reclaim their contractual rights. The TUC urges all of us to take a full lunchbreak today and to go home on the dot for once. And then we'll see if the country grinds to a halt as a result, or not. Working hours - your rights Calculate your annual overtime payday See the full professional overtime league table (and read the fascinatingly prejudiced discussion underneath)
I work too much. I have a salaried contract with a notional number of hours to complete each week, but I'm still expected to put the work in until the job is done. So I do. That would explain why I'm usually one of the first people to arrive in my office in the morning, and often one of the last to go home in the evening. Either that or it's the word 'mug' stamped on my forehead. Things are especially bad at the moment. There are looming deadlines that 'must be met' (and yes, trust me, they must), so this week I've managed to exceed my weekly contracted hours in just three days flat. I've been in the office at 8am, watching everyone else stumbling in all bleary eyed. And I've been in the office at 8pm, well after everyone else has buggered off home to have a life.
There's a lot to be said for working late in the office. After the place has emptied out you get to have all the facilities to yourself. You can spread out and use everybody else's deskspace. You can take a look in the stationery cupboard and see what goodies are lurking at the back of it. You can make friends with the cleaners (assuming you and they share any language in common). You can plug yourself into your iPod Shuffle and boogie round the floor to Franz Ferdinand while nobody's looking. And, best of all, you can get twice as much work done as you can during the day because nobody's interrupting you with endless emails, unwanted phone calls and urgent demands, or occupying your time by bleating on about their latest home DIY project.
I shall be celebrating Work Your Proper Hours Day by doing 60% unpaid overtime for the fourth day in succession. I have tons of stuff to do, and either I get it done today or there will be unpleasant consequences. I would walk out of the door tonight at 4pm, just to make a point, except that my boss is on leave and wouldn't notice. Hmm, I think he's planned today better than I have...