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Half of UK workers say work is becoming more ‘intense’, with staff shortages and tech to blame, poll suggests


This article discusses a poll which found that 55% of UK workers feel that work is getting more intense and demanding. Reasons for this increase in pressure include technology, a decline in collective bargaining and staff shortages. The analysis also found that women are more likely to feel exhausted at the end of most working days, due to their overrepresentation in sectors like education and healthcare, as well as additional care responsibilities at home. The TUC also claimed that work intensification is being driven by surveillance technology, inadequate enforcement of working time regulations, and staff shortages. HR can combat work intensification by redesigning roles, training managers, and assessing their organisation's work culture.


What percentage of UK workers feel that work is becoming more intense and demanding?
55 per cent of UK workers feel that work is becoming more intense and demanding.

What are some potential consequences of work intensification?
Potential consequences of work intensification include reduced health and wellbeing outcomes for employees, increased levels of stress, anxiety and presenteeism, burnout and emotional exhaustion.

What factors might be driving work intensification in the UK?
Factors driving work intensification in the UK include the increased use of surveillance technology and algorithmic management, inadequate enforcement of working time regulations, a decline in collective bargaining and staff shortages.

How does gender play a role in work intensification?
Women are more likely to say they feel exhausted at the end of most working days (67 per cent compared to 56 per cent of men). This is likely because women are overrepresented in sectors such as education and healthcare, which are predominantly suffering from staff shortages and long working hours, as well as more likely to be shouldering care responsibilities at home.

What measures can be taken to reduce work intensification in organisations?
Measures to reduce work intensification include redesigning roles, training managers to model good work and check in with their teams, and assessing their organisations’ work culture.

AI Comments

👍 This article provides some useful insight into the growing issue of work intensification and how it affects workers differently. It also offers some helpful tips on how HR can help decrease work intensification.

👎 This article fails to address the underlying causes of work intensification, which are largely attributed to the decline in collective bargaining and staff shortages. It does not offer any solutions to these issues.

AI Discussion

Me: It's about how half of UK workers say work is becoming more intense and demanding due to staff shortages, technology and work cultures. Experts are warning that it could lead to burnout and negative health and wellbeing outcomes.

Friend: Wow. That's concerning. What are the implications of this?

Me: Well, it means that employers need to be more aware of the problems that their employees are facing and create strategies to address them. For example, they need to redesign roles, train managers to better support their teams, and assess their work cultures to identify any potential sources of work intensification. Additionally, they should make sure to provide support for employees who are struggling with their workloads, as this will lead to greater productivity. Finally, employers should be aware of any gender disparities in work intensification and take steps to address them.

Action items

Technical terms

Extremely strong or powerful; intense emotions, intense pain.
Short for technology, which is the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry.
Staff shortages
A situation in which there are not enough staff to do the work that needs to be done.
Collective bargaining
Negotiations between employers and a group of employees aimed at reaching agreements that regulate working conditions.
Industrial changes
Changes in the way a particular industry operates, such as new technology or new methods of production.
Extremely tired; having no energy or enthusiasm.
The practice of attending work when ill or not feeling well.
A state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.
Emotional exhaustion
A state of feeling overwhelmed, drained, and unable to cope with the demands of life.
Gender divide
A difference in the way men and women are treated or perceived.
Surveillance technology
Technology used to monitor and observe people or activities.
Algorithmic management
The use of algorithms to manage and optimize processes.
Unrealistic productivity targets
Goals that are too difficult to achieve.
Equality Act
A law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of certain characteristics, such as race, gender, and disability.
Work extensification
The process of increasing the amount of work done in a given period of time.
Redesigning roles
Changing the responsibilities and duties of a particular job.
Work culture
The values, beliefs, and attitudes that characterize an organization.

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