One in four employees' mental wellbeing at risk by working outside office hours


Press Release

• In an age of always being ‘online’, a quarter (26%) of employees find working outside of traditional working hours harms their mental wellbeing
• There’s an impact on productivity too, as 20% of staff believe it negatively affects their output
• Regardless, three quarters (74%) of large firms’ staff are contractually obliged to be available outside office hours
• Out of hours working is undermining employers’ well intentioned initiatives to boost employee health and wellbeing

LONDON, 21 June 2018 - Diligent and dedicated employees working around the clock is leading to a false economy within the UK’s largest multinationals, according to the inaugural Global Benefits Forum Survey from Lockton, the world’s largest global independent insurance broker.

The report, released to coincide with Lockton’s annual Global Benefits Forum in London this month, demonstrates that large employers must reassess what they ask of their employees to ensure a happy and healthy workforce that performs to its potential.

‘Always on’ undermining employees’ wellbeing and productivity

With half of employers (50%) offering mental health resilience support for their employees, and a further quarter (24%) of HR directors expecting to do the same in the next decade, it is clear that maintaining healthy staff is a priority.

However, efforts to champion mental wellbeing are being undermined by the fact that three quarters (74%) of employers contractually require their employees to be available outside of core office hours. This pressure to be available around the clock is detrimental to employee health, with a quarter of employees (26%) believing this obligation negatively impacts their mental wellbeing.

The short term gains enjoyed by employers could therefore be outweighed by longer term damage to employees’ wellbeing, while also negating the impacting of mental health initiatives being put in place by employers.

There are also commercial implications to being available around the clock. While 90% of employers believe that working longer hours does not have an effect on productivity, Lockton’s research found that a fifth (20%) of employees think their output is negatively affected by being on call.

Employer expectations impact talent retention

Health and productivity pressures are forcing many employees to draw a line between their work and home lives, as almost half (47%) of employees would refuse to accept a role that required them to being online outside of office hours as part of their job.

However, over a third (36%) of HR directors surveyed note that being online at home is expected as part of a role at their company, suggesting a disconnect between employees’ and employers’ expectations when it comes to working beyond office hours.

This perception gap may affect future talent acquisition, as nearly half of employees (46%) say they would not even consider a job if it required availability beyond core office hours. 

Providing more flexible working may relieve the pressure of the ‘always on’ work culture, by allowing employees to work when suits them. Fifty percent of employees surveyed cite flexible working hours as the most important benefit they could receive in the next 10 years.

Chris Rofe, Senior Vice President of UK and International Benefits Practice at Lockton, comments: “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.

“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.

Click here to read the full Global Benefits Forum Survey.


For further information please contact:
Instinctif Partners

Katy Chambers or Lee Jones
Tel:  +44 207 427 1431 / +44 207 866 7884

The survey was made up of 400 interviews with HR Directors in multi-national companies within Legal, TMT, Energy and Financial Services industries of 1000+ employees with a UK Head office but a presence in Europe/US and/or Asia. Also, 400 interviews with employees within the same organisation (paired interviews). Fieldwork completed by Coleman Parkes in May 2018.

Note for Editors
Lockton is a global professional services firm with 6,500 Associates who advise clients on protecting their people, property and reputations. Lockton has grown to become the world’s largest privately held, independent insurance broker by helping clients achieve their business objectives. More information can be found at