One-hour lunch breaks, working nine to five and a simple tea round are among the things office workers miss about the past.
The research of 2,000 office workers aged 40 and over revealed the extent to which things have changed over the years, with six in 10 saying work was ‘easier’ in previous decades.
Being able to leave work on time without feeling guilty, wearing a suit or set uniform and shutting emails down at the end of the day also feature in the list.
Others miss getting paid to work overtime and the idea of a ‘job for life’.
There are also some office items workers miss from ‘back in the day’ – including fax machines, typewriters, and even Tippex.
Animal charity SPANA carried out the research ahead of International Working Animal Day (15 June) to raise awareness of working animals worldwide, which face a lifetime of work, with no retirement, in appalling conditions that never change.
Geoffrey Dennis, chief executive of animal charity SPANA, which provides free veterinary treatment to working animals in developing countries, said: “They say things were ‘better in my day’ and it’s clear that older workers are nostalgic about the past and a time when work felt less stressful.
“But while it can be difficult to get to grips with longer working hours, new technology and higher demands, these problems pale in comparison with the gruelling conditions endured by working animals overseas.”
The study found workers miss being able to go to the pub at lunchtime with colleagues and the days when they were allowed to have a 15-minute break in the morning and the afternoon.
Others fondly remember a time when they were rewarded with extra holiday for every year of service, and had final salary pension schemes.
While some just liked the days when they could use office stamps to send personal post or take any stationery they wanted from the supplies cupboard.
Smoking in the office, typing pools, staff memos and office parties which actually took place in the office also feature in the top 50 list.
Having an in-tray rather than an inbox, being allowed to make politically incorrect jokes and moaning to colleagues in the staff toilets rather than having to converse over messenger are also missed.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, almost half of those polled say they work longer hours now than they did some 10 or 20 years ago, while four in 10 are more likely to work from home without being paid.
One quarter of those polled say their boss has actually told them they are expected to work above their contract hours without being paid – with 63 per cent claiming management is altogether more demanding these days.
Six in 10 adults attribute the harder working conditions to the rise in technology, claiming there is never any escape now as clients, customers and colleagues can contact them 24/7.
Disappointingly, four in 10 office workers say their work-life balance is worse than it was in previous decades.