A report published by the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union of a study into the long hours worked by professionals and managers across a range of industries showed Britons work £23bn-worth of unpaid overtime a year, and 94% of those surveyed see their workload as very excessive or heavy.
The UK has the longest working hours in Europe, as well as the fewest bank holidays and days of annual leave. PCS said that employers could improve their employees' working practices by overhauling business processes and providing better and more robust IT.
Charlie Greenhill, project officer of the union's professional and managers' association, said, "Any downtime when IT systems are not available to the user is virtually wasted time." Most organisations are sufficiently reliant on their IT systems that work cannot be carried out without IT, he added.
The report also argued that technology such as video-conferencing, can deliver a significant reduction in the amount of time wasted on travel during a working day.
"Thousands of man hours are lost each week by people travelling from one meeting to another when IT solutions are available to allow them to achieve the same result from their desks," Greenhill said.
The research suggested that employers could also use specialised software to discover how employees are filling their working hours.
Last month PCS urged the Inland Revenue and the successful supplier of the department's future £7.6bn technology services contract to work with the union to end the long hours culture.