Workers 'turning up an hour early to get a parking spot'
More than one in seven car commuters may be giving their employer an extra hour of unpaid work every day because they arrive early to secure a space, according to new research.
The battle for a parking spot is so intense that 15% aim to turn up more than 60 minutes before their contracted start time and do not get time in lieu if they begin work straight away, a survey found.
The AA, which commissioned the research, noted that even those workers who arrive early but then wait until their shift starts are missing out on time at home.
More than 10,000 motorists who drive to work responded to the survey, which also found that 36% worry about parking.
Meanwhile the chance to get away from work by going on a drive during the lunch break is lost to 37% of workers because they fear not being able to find a space when they return.
The worst areas for parking paranoia in the UK are London, the West Midlands and the North East.
Among drivers in the capital, 46% worry about where they are going to park when they get to work, while in the West Midlands and the North East 38% fret as they commute.
Almost a quarter (24%) of London car commuters who park at work turn up an hour or more early, compared to just 17% in the West Midlands.
The most relaxed areas for workplace parking are East Anglia and Yorkshire and Humberside with just 31% and 34% respectively feeling anxious.
Pressure to turn up an hour or more early is felt least by car commuters in East Anglia (10%) and Scotland (12%).
AA president Edmund King said: "Parking paranoia means that many car commuters are losing five hours a week in order to ensure they get a parking space.
"There is probably little difference between workers whose public transport timetables deliver them to work 20 or 30 minutes early and their colleagues who drive in at the same time.
"However, having to turn up and hour or more early to get a parking space, rather than just beating the rush-hour traffic, must add to the mental burden on commuters and impact on their work."
Almost two-thirds (65%) of commuting in England is done by car, according to the latest National Travel Survey.
Mr King said that good employers are aware of parking availability and take action when a lack of spaces "starts to make life hell for their employees".
He added: "Encouraging car-sharing schemes or pushing for better public transport provision shows an acceptance of responsibility, rather than leaving their workers to drive round the car park in growing frustration while the bosses have their own reserved spaces."