As more people work from home, a new study has found that longer working hours have become standard practice in the UK.
A study by NordVPN Teams has found that employees in the UK have settled into the habit of working two extra hours a day, suggesting that lockdown has permanently changed the way we work.
The trend is also apparent in the United States, where workers are now routinely working three hours more per day than they used to before lockdown.
All of the countries studied by NordVPN saw a significant rise in the number of hours worked when lockdowns were first imposed in March and April. In the UK, for example, average daily working hours increased from nine to 11. In the US, average hours rose from eight to 11. In France and Spain, hours went up from eight to ten; while in the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Canada, average daily hours worked rose from nine to ten.
However, while workers in most of the countries studied have now returned to their pre-lockdown average working hours, in the UK and the United States longer working hours seem to have become the new normal.
Working habits have also been seen to change, especially in the UK. Before lockdown, UK workers would typically log on to start work at 7am and finish at 5pm. Since lockdown, that schedule has shifted to an 11-hour day starting at 9am and finishing at 8pm.
"We also see that there is no significant drop in the usage of business VPNs during lunchtime, which might suggest that lunch breaks have become shorter," said Juta Gurinaviciute, chief technology officer at NordVPN Teams.
The findings show that remote access and business VPN solutions are in high demand as work-from-home trends continue. The use of business VPNs "skyrocketed" in April, according to NordVPN Teams. It coincided with a widely-reported spike in the use of home networks and devices.
"The sharp increase in cloud and remote access VPNs continues," said Gurinaviciute. "Companies have taken action to get people to work online as fast as possible, but the new challenge is also to make sure they work as securely as possible. A recent Gartner survey found that more than 80% of company leaders plan to have their staff work remotely at least part-time."
Written by Rachel Miller.