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Almost a third (32%) of employees in the UK transport and logistics sector are working beyond their contracted hours and doing some form of unpaid overtime each week, according to new research.

The study, by financial guidance specialists Claro Wellbeing, found that 15% of employees in the sector have experienced burnout - a state of physical and emotional exhaustion caused by work stress.

The poll of 1,000 UK-based employees was published in the company’s Wellbeing Washing – The True Cost report, which seeks to uncover the disparity between organisations’ public displays of support for mental health initiatives and actual support for mental wellbeing.

The report points to the current skills shortage in the sector as largely responsible for the amount of unpaid overtime being worked by employees. The logistics sector is expected to have worker shortages totalling 400,000 people by 2026.

Over one in five (21%) employees said they work between one and five hours extra, in overtime, each week. Almost a quarter (24%) of employees said they work beyond their contracted hours due to increased workloads, the study found.

Previous Claro Wellbeing research found that 15% of employees in the sector have experienced burnout.

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Stacey Lowman, head of employee wellbeing at Claro Wellbeing, said: “The number of employees in the transport and logistics sector working unpaid overtime each week is concerning due to the impact it can have on their personal wellbeing.

“While companies are facing tough trading conditions as they continue to feel instability following the pandemic and Brexit, the cost of neglecting staff wellbeing could be significant.

“Continued overworking is likely to lead to poor wellbeing, burnout, an increased chance of mental health issues and staff taking sickness absence.

She added: “Employers are also likely to see a higher staff turnover rate as employees leave for a better working environment. This is an issue already facing the sector with many companies experiencing difficulties in recruitment.

“A comprehensive benefits offering can aid wellbeing and help employees deal with workplace stresses. Employers are beginning to recognise the need for better mental health support, as this was the most introduced employee benefit in the last year.

“Similarly, sabbaticals and paid time off are also increasingly popular benefits, as work-life balance continues to climb up the list of priorities for employees. Despite this, it’s clear that there’s much more to be done to prevent burnout.”