1. Live to work

In the modern era many of us feel overworked and stressed out, trying to balance home life and often demanding jobs.

A century ago, Britons worked an average of around 3,000 hours per year – triple the figure today.

Nowadays people are living well into their seventies, and the retirement age might rise along with life expectancy. But are people simply working too hard, and what are the consequences?

2. Long hours culture

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) believe Britain's long hours culture is having a detrimental affect on productivity and health, as the number of people working more than 48 hours per week rises.

The industries most affected are mining and quarrying (64%), agriculture, fishing and forestry (43%), accommodation and food services (36%), health and social work (32%) and education (31%).

Working long hours is bad for your health and is associated with mental illness, depression, sleep deprivation, stress, a bad diet, raised blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease.

But the idea that too much work can kill is nothing new – in Japan it's known as karōshi, meaning death from overwork.

3. Restoring the balance

To find out more about work-related stress, I spoke to Dr Paul Hewlett, an expert in stress management.

Clip from Sian Lloyd's Work Life Balance, part of BBC Wales's Live Longer Wales season.

4. How does Britain compare?

Click on each image to learn more about each country's working hours.

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So how does Britain compare with the rest of the world? Asian countries tend to work the longest, but working longer doesn't necessarily mean working better. Some of the most efficient, happiest and best paid nations also work the shortest hours, including Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

5. Stress in the workplace

The Health and Safety Executive has identified six factors that can cause work related stress if left unmanaged.

  1. Not being able to cope with the demands of the job.
  2. Not having a say about your work.
  3. Not getting enough information and support from colleagues and bosses.
  4. Not getting on with people at work.
  5. Changes to existing roles and responsibilities.
  6. Frequent changes within an organisation.

Studies have linked working long hours to stress, which is considered to be a state rather than an illness. However, if it becomes excessive, or over a long period of time, it can lead to both mental and physical illness.

6. Brexit

The working time directive was introduced by the European Union to safeguard workers' rights, and was adopted by Britain in 1998. One of its aims was to set a weekly working time limit of 48 hours per person.

As Britain prepares to leave the EU, workers’ rights may be put under scrutiny, but deregulation in this area would be extremely unpopular among some sectors of the workforce.

Not all jobs are covered by EU employment law though. Some professions such as the emergency services, the military, night work and deep-sea fishing all fall outside of the directive due to the types of business and unsociable hours.

7. Take a break

With so much pressure on people to achieve at work, take a look at the potential benefits from working fewer hours each week.

Increased productivity

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Increased productivity

In 2008, when Utah introduced four-day working weeks for many of its state employees, it not only boosted worker satisfaction but also productivity.

Increased employment

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Increased employment

Over six million Britons work more than 45 hours a week. With unemployment at 1.65 million, a shorter week could mean a fairer distribution of working hours.

Climate change

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Climate Change

A report by the US Centre for Economic and Policy Research revealed shorter working hours lead to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and consumption.