The race to secure a parking space is causing one in seven car commuters to work more hours, a survey by the AA has revealed.
The study showed workers give employers an extra hour of unpaid work every day due to "parking paranoia".
Competition for a space is so fierce that 15% of workers turn up more than an hour before their contracted start time. Those who arrived early but waited until their shift started were missing out on time at home, the research noted.
workers who turn up more than an hour early to secure a parking space
More than 10,000 motorists who drive to work responded to the survey, with London, the west Midlands and the North East found to be the worst areas for parking paranoia.
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.
The most relaxed areas for workplace parking are East Anglia and Yorkshire and Humberside with just 31% and 34% respectively feeling anxious about the issue.
Pressure to turn up an hour or more early is felt least by car commuters in East Anglia (10%) and Scotland (12%).
of commuting in England is by car according to the National Travel Survey
AA President Edmund 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".
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.
Mr King also recommended the promotion of car-sharing schemes and improved public transport.
Almost two-thirds of commuting in England is done by car, according to the National Travel Survey.