“British full-time employees have the biggest gap in EU between average collectively agreed hours and actual time spent working”.

President of the UK Faculty of Public Health, Prof John Ashton has stated that “The UK needs a four-day working week to combat stress”.

Denis Campbell has also contributed to the topic, raising awareness to the fact that (work-related) mental health is a major issue. This is particularly significant in terms of stress, job pressure, and sickness absence.

Campbell quoted “We should be moving towards a four-day week because the problem we have in the world of work is you’ve got a proportion of the population who are working too hard and a proportion that haven’t got jobs”.

Professor John Ashton has also indicated about the disappearance of ‘the lunch hour’. There are many people out there who are eating their lunches at their desks, and continuing to work throughout their supposed break. This is ultimately resulting in an increase of work as people are failing to make the move away from their computer screens at lunch time.

We have created a full infographic, based on data provided by The Guardian, which illustrates the difference between hours agreed to work, and hours actually worked in European countries.

How Does the UK Working Week compare

The working reality in the UK is that the average numbers of hours actually spent working is 3.1 hours more than the average collectively agreed number of hours to work.

Here’s a breakdown of the UK working week:

Average hours worked per day in the UK: 8.16

Weekly agreed hours in the UK: 37.7

Hours actually worked in the UK: 40.8

The difference of 3.1 hours is the largest in Europe with the average gap being 1.4 hours, which the UK has clearly exceeded. The UK is only one of three countries which exceeds two hours, along with Germany (2.7) and the Netherlands (2.3).

In contrast to the UK, There are actually a few countries where the amount of time spent working is lower than the collectively agreed working hours. These countries include: Ireland, Malta, and Hungary.

From this map we can draw a conclusion that It is apparent that the vast majority of European countries are spending more time working than the collective agreed time to work. The data comes from the latest Developments in collectively agreed working time report by the European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO).

Compare the UK to other European countries let us know what you think about our working reality, and whether you think the UK should move towards a four-day working week? Tell us in the comments below.