Working 9 to 5? No chance in London…


Packed out tubes, racing for the bus or competing for a cab. Rush hour in the city is not an easy feat for the thousands who bustle into London every day, but new statistics suggest the hectic day doesn’t come close to ending there.

Figures suggest that once the London commuters eventually make it to their desks, their work day will last significantly longer than those elsewhere across the UK. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that those living in London work, on average, three weeks longer per year than the rest of the UK – equivalent to 100 extra hours.

Although this may seem disproportionate compared to the rest of the UK, City worker Trish Farrell, 55, insists it is what many city workers expect. “I have worked in the City for a long time and doing the extra hours really is part of the culture. It’s a big part of the working life, and commitment, if you want to progress in your career in the City.”

London Bridge
The daily commute through London. Image taken by Hannah Ledden

Working into the small hours may be the extreme of these new findings, but London as a whole starts off their working day before other cities. Other statistics show our capital’s commuters spend an average of 75 minutes travelling to and from work, compared to a national average of 52.8, according to trade union TUC.

Senior PR account executive, Tola Betiku, 27, is another London commuter who sees the difference between working in the City, and not. “I strongly believe these figures are correct – since I’ve been working whether it’s been part time, freelance, or full time I can literally recall every single time I’ve taken my full break allowance”.

The City of London
One of the main business hot spots in the Capital. Courtesy of Google Maps


Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf, a key area for workers in London. Courtesy of Google Maps


Professor Ronald McQuaid told the BBC that despite financial sectors being a certainty to work longer hours, the newer workforce are also doing their fair share. “Younger workers are more likely to work longer hours too, especially if they are living in expensive areas.”

Tola agrees that the reason behind these figures comes from the stress of a busy career. “It’s a work culture that seriously needs to be adjusted quickly as it leads to people feeling burnt out, unappreciated, stressed and moreover it causes people to seek alternative careers.”

Office of National Statistics Data
Average weekly hours across the UK. Data and graph courtesy of the Office of National Statistics

When it comes to London, there isn’t many areas that wouldn’t require a longer work day to afford the rent, and maybe the expense of the capital is the main reason to blame. On a global level, London is still a city of hardworking commuters, beating Paris, Copenhagen and Milan in the race for the longest working day, according to UBS.

It seems to compete on a global scale as a major capital city London is far from slowing down and with it, the thousands who work across the city every day. Extra hours, both in the office and during the dread commute come part and parcel with a job in one of the busiest places in the world.

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