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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of working longer hours from the real IELTS general training exam.

An interesting and tricky IELTS topic!

Please consider supporting me on Patreon.com/howtodoielts so that I can continue publishing these essays!

Dave

IELTS Essay: Working Longer Hours

Many people are working longer hours.

Why is this happening?

What problems can this cause to people?

It is becoming increasingly common for the average employee to spend more time working. In my opinion, this is the result of structural changes and the resultant problems relate primarily to mental and physical well-being.

Longer modern workdays are largely due to technological innovations. In the past, an office employee might commute to work for a typical 9 to 5 shift, before returning home unencumbered by further assignments. Today, many employees are in near-constant contact with their job through messages, emails, and phone calls. As working hours become flexible and permeable, in some cases leading to remote working, individuals are more likely to spend extra time completing assignments or making an effort to impress their boss. For example, highly motivated employees will often answer emails late into the night or stay up past midnight to finalise reports.

The results of more time spent at work concern mental and physical health. First of all, research has shown that in order to lower levels of cortisol in the brain linked to periods of stressful activity, it is important to compartmentalise work. Since this is less possible today, there has been a concomitant rise in conditions related to depression, anxiety, and general unhappiness. Secondly, more time at work can also take a heavy toll on physical health. Most workers spend the majority of the day sitting at a desk, which, if they have poor posture, can lead to back pain. More importantly, if employees are working too much they might be cutting into their time for exercise. There is only so much that an individual can fit into a single day and exercise is a natural sacrifice when pressed for time.

In conclusion, the tendency to work longer results from fundamental changes to the structure of work due to advances in technology and this has both psychological and physical implications. Individuals must therefore strive for ways to strike a balance to maintain their health.

Analysis

1. It is becoming increasingly common for the average employee to spend more time working. 2. In my opinion, this is the result of structural changes and the resultant problems relate primarily to mental and physical well-being.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Write a clear opinion. Read more about introductions here.

1. Longer modern workdays are largely due to technological innovations. 2. In the past, an office employee might commute to work for a typical 9 to 5 shift, before returning home unencumbered by further assignments. 3. Today, many employees are in near-constant contact with their job through messages, emails, and phone calls. 4. As working hours become flexible and permeable, in some cases leading to remote working, individuals are more likely to spend extra time completing assignments or making an effort to impress their boss. 5. For example, highly motivated employees will often answer emails late into the night or stay up past midnight to finalise reports.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific detail.
  4. Continue to develop it.
  5. Give an example.

1. The results of more time spent at work concern mental and physical health. 2. First of all, research has shown that in order to lower levels of cortisol in the brain linked to periods of stressful activity, it is important to compartmentalise work. 3. Since this is less possible today, there has been a concomitant rise in conditions related to depression, anxiety, and general unhappiness. 4. Secondly, more time at work can also take a heavy toll on physical health. 5. Most workers spend the majority of the day sitting at a desk, which, if they have poor posture, can lead to back pain. 6. More importantly, if employees are working too much they might be cutting into their time for exercise. 7. There is only so much that an individual can fit into a single day and exercise is a natural sacrifice when pressed for time.

  1. Write a new topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your new main idea.
  3. Include specific details and examples.
  4. The more specific, the better.
  5. Add on any extra detail that you can that is related for a better task achievement score.
  6. This paragraph can be slightly longer but not too much!
  7. Try to keep your vocabulary academic and conclude the paragraph.

1. In conclusion, the tendency to work longer results from fundamental changes to the structure of work due to advances in technology and this has both psychological and physical implications. 2. Individuals must therefore strive for ways to strike a balance to maintain their health.

  1. Summarise your main ideas.
  2. Include a final thought. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

It is becoming increasingly common for the average employee to spend more time working. In my opinion, this is the result of structural changes and the resultant problems relate primarily to mental and physical well-being.

Longer modern workdays are largely due to technological innovations. In the past, an office employee might commute to work for a typical 9 to 5 shift, before returning home unencumbered by further assignments. Today, many employees are in near-constant contact with their job through messages, emails, and phone calls. As working hours become flexible and permeable, in some cases leading to remote working, individuals are more likely to spend extra time completing assignments or making an effort to impress their boss. For example, highly motivated employees will often answer emails late into the night or stay up past midnight to finalise reports.

The results of more time spent at work concern mental and physical health. First of all, research has shown that in order to lower levels of cortisol in the brain linked to periods of stressful activity, it is important to compartmentalise work. Since this is less possible today, there has been a concomitant rise in conditions related to depression, anxiety, and general unhappiness. Secondly, more time at work can also take a heavy toll on physical health. Most workers spend the majority of the day sitting at a desk, which, if they have poor posture, can lead to back pain. More importantly, if employees are working too much they might be cutting into their time for exercise. There is only so much that an individual can fit into a single day and exercise is a natural sacrifice when pressed for time.

In conclusion, the tendency to work longer results from fundamental changes to the structure of work due to advances in technology and this has both psychological and physical implications. Individuals must therefore strive for ways to strike a balance to maintain their health.

Answers

increasingly common more and more popular

average employee normal person

structural changes alterations to the shape of the workday

resultant problems issues resulting from this

primarily mostly

mental and physical well-being emotional and body health

longer modern workdays more time working these days

largely mostly

technological innovations new devices

commute travelling to work/school

typical 9 to 5 shift normal workday

returning home unencumbered going back home with no worries/work

further extra

near-constant contact always in communications

flexible can change

permeable goes through barriers

in some cases sometimes

leading to causing

remote working working from home

completing assignments finishing your work

making an effort to impress their boss trying to show off

highly very

answer emails late into the night stay up late at night to respond

stay up past midnight don’t sleep until late

finalise reports finish work

concern worry

research has shown that studies indicate

cortisol the thing in the brain that relates to stress

linked to periods of stressful activity times when you feel stressed

compartmentalise keep in its place

concomitant rise related increase

conditions contexts

anxiety stressful feelings

take a heavy toll on hurts a lot

majority most of

poor posture don’t sit properly

back pain when your back hurts

cutting into reducing

there is only so much that only a limited amount can be done

fit into be part of

natural sacrifice obvious area to limit

pressed for time don’t have much time

tendency inclination

results from fundamental what happens from the basic

implications ramifications

strive try hard

strike a balance keep everything equal

Pronunciation

ɪnˈkriːsɪŋli ˈkɒmən 
ˈævərɪʤ ˌɛmplɔɪˈiː 
ˈstrʌkʧərəl ˈʧeɪnʤɪz 
rɪˈzʌltənt ˈprɒbləmz 
ˈpraɪmərɪli 
ˈmɛntl ænd ˈfɪzɪkəl wɛl-ˈbiːɪŋ
ˈlɒŋgə ˈmɒdən ˈwɜːkdeɪz 
ˈlɑːʤli 
ˌtɛknəˈlɒʤɪk(ə)l ˌɪnəʊˈveɪʃənz
kəˈmjuːt 
ˈtɪpɪk(ə)l 9 tuː 5 ʃɪft,
rɪˈtɜːnɪŋ həʊm ˌʌnɪnˈkʌmbəd 
ˈfɜːðə 
nɪə-ˈkɒnstənt ˈkɒntækt 
ˈflɛksəbl 
ˈpɜːmiəb(ə)l
ɪn sʌm ˈkeɪsɪz 
ˈliːdɪŋ tuː 
rɪˈməʊt ˈwɜːkɪŋ
kəmˈpliːtɪŋ əˈsaɪnmənts 
ˈmeɪkɪŋ ən ˈɛfət tuː ˈɪmprɛs ðeə bɒs
ˈhaɪli 
ˈɑːnsər ˈiːmeɪlz leɪt ˈɪntuː ðə naɪt 
steɪ ʌp pɑːst ˈmɪdnaɪt 
ˈfaɪnəlaɪz rɪˈpɔːts
kənˈsɜːn 
rɪˈsɜːʧ hæz ʃəʊn ðæt 
kɔːtisəʊl
lɪŋkt tuː ˈpɪərɪədz ɒv ˈstrɛsf(ə)l ækˈtɪvɪti
kəmˈpɑːtməntəlaɪz 
kənˈkɒmɪtənt raɪz 
kənˈdɪʃənz 
æŋˈzaɪəti
teɪk ə ˈhɛvi təʊl ɒn 
məˈʤɒrɪti 
pʊə ˈpɒsʧə
bæk peɪn
ˈkʌtɪŋ ˈɪntuː 
ðeər ɪz ˈəʊnli səʊ mʌʧ ðæt 
fɪt ˈɪntuː 
ˈnæʧrəl ˈsækrɪfaɪs 
prɛst fɔː taɪm
ˈtɛndənsi 
rɪˈzʌlts frɒm ˌfʌndəˈmɛntl 
ˌɪmplɪˈkeɪʃənz
straɪv 
straɪk ə ˈbæləns 

Vocabulary Practice

I recommend getting a pencil and piece of paper because that aids memory. Then write down the missing vocabulary from my sample answer in your notebook:

It is becoming i__________________n for the a_____________________e to spend more time working. In my opinion, this is the result of s__________________s and the r___________________s relate p___________y to m___________________________g.

L_________________________s are l__________y due to t___________________________s. In the past, an office employee might c__________e to work for a t_______________________t, before r___________________________d by f_________r assignments. Today, many employees are in n_______________________t with their job through messages, emails, and phone calls. As working hours become f______________e and p______________e, i________________s l_________________o r____________________g, individuals are more likely to spend extra time c____________________s or m__________________________________s. For example, h__________y motivated employees will often a_____________________________t or s___________________t to f_________________s.

The results of more time spent at work c___________n mental and physical health. First of all, r________________________t in order to lower levels of c___________l in the brain l________________________________________y, it is important to c_________________e work. Since this is less possible today, there has been a c____________________e in c_______________s related to depression, a____________y, and general unhappiness. Secondly, more time at work can also t_______________________n physical health. Most workers spend the m_______________y of the day sitting at a desk, which, if they have p__________________e, can lead to b_____________n. More importantly, if employees are working too much they might be c_____________o their time for exercise. T_____________________________t an individual can f_______o a single day and exercise is a n_______________________e when p___________________e.

In conclusion, the t____________y to work longer r________________________l changes to the structure of work due to advances in technology and this has both psychological and physical i_________________s. Individuals must therefore s______e for ways to s__________________e to maintain their health.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic in the video below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

Read more about this topic and use these ideas to practice:

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following speaking questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Work

  1. Why did you choose your job?
  2. How much work do you do in a week?
  3. Do you have to work on weekends as well?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related topic below and then check with my sample answer:

Some think that work and social friends should be kept separate.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?


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