Research found that 39 per cent of workers regularly stayed late or arrived early during the past year in a bid to seem more dedicated than their colleagues.
More than a quarter (26 per cent) said they consistently worked longer days than they needed to in order to do their job more effectively, according to the poll by officebroker.com.
Employees were most likely to put in longer hours at the office when a pay review was imminent, a new boss had been appointed or redundancies had been announced. Staff working extended hours were found to be doing an extra hour or two hours a day, adding a minimum of half a day more to their working week.
A spokesman for officebroker.com, which helps small businesses, said: “What our research has found is that many workers are doing it in a bid to improve their office image and win favour, rather than because their workload demands it.
“People are sitting idle in their office in a bid to stand out from their colleagues and impress their bosses. This means a poorer work-life balance and ultimately no productivity gains for the firm, just increasingly tired workers, which benefits nobody.”