Who wouldn’t want to have more time to practice hobbies, relax, take care of their family, hang out with friends, have fun with their pets, or travel the world? You might think that all of the things that you could be doing instead of working are a luxury, but actually, they’re not.
These work-life balance statistics will show you that spending time away from work, both mentally and physically, is essential for keeping your health, increasing your productivity, or even saving your marriage. And, since we spend one-third of our lives at work, we need to protect the other two from burnout and other modern work-related ailments.
Unfortunately, the US is far from facilitating a healthy work-life balance in comparison with other developed countries. Nevertheless, everybody — even your boss — can profit from a better work-life balance, and these stats and facts can prove this.
The Top 10 Work-Life Balance Stats
- 48% of Americans consider themselves workaholics.
- 66% of American workers lack work-life balance.
- 77% of full-time US employees experienced burnout at their current job.
- Americans take 26% of their work home.
- US workers spend 14.4 hours per day on personal care and leisure.
- The US has one of the worst vacation scores globally.
- 25% of women have to return to work within 2 weeks after giving birth.
- San Diego, San Francisco, and Portland have the best work-life balance.
- About 40% of male physicians and 50% of female physicians are overworked.
- 40% of millennials identify as “work martyrs.”
- 16% of millennials fight off burnout with Netflix.
Work-Life Balance: Facts and Stats for the US
1. 48% of Americans consider themselves workaholics.
(NY Post, Business Insider)
Statistics show that the average full-time employee spends four hours per week working for free and an additional four hours per week worrying about work.
In a new study, it was found that 28% of workaholics are financially motivated.
In a survey by Business Insider, 30% of respondents said they would occupy themselves with work if they had more spare time.
Furthermore, 30% said they would exercise, 26% wanted more vacation days, and 23% needed a longer maternity/paternity leave.
Only 20% of the correspondents said that they’d spend their spare time reading.
2. 66% of American workers lack work-life balance, time management statistics confirm.
(Small Biz Trends, BLS, CNBC)
Data from 2015 shows that 34% of the working population in the US is working both on weekdays and weekends.
In 2016, professionals working in sales, IT services, and related occupations were the most likely to work on weekends and holidays. This led to some 66% of full-time workers claiming that they don’t have a healthy work-life balance.
Furthermore, the average American works 44 hours per week, or 8.8 hours per day, while, in 2017, the average number of working hours per week was 47, or around 9.4 hours per day.
3. Global work-life balance statistics reveal that the US is in 29th place out of 40 countries ranked by the number of people working 50 hours or more.
OECD rankings for work-life balance place the US in 29th place out of the 40 countries included in this research, with 11.1% of the working population working for 50 hours or more per week.
Russia was the best when it comes to the duration of workdays, as only 0.1% of the workers worked 50 hours or more per week on average.
Following the OECD data, Turkey has the longest working hours per week, where 32.6% of the population surpasses 50 hours of work per week.
4. Work-life balance research finds that 77% of full-time US employees experienced professional burnout at their current job.
(Deloitte, Business Insider)
77% of 1,000 full-time employees involved in the research reported that they had experienced burnout.
This staggering percentage refers to the employees in their current workplace; however, more than 50% of them said that it wasn’t their first time.
Furthermore, as much as 91% of the correspondents said that they experience an unmanageable amount of stress on their jobs, which inevitably leads to lower quality work and burnout.
On a national level, burnout affects 40–50% of full-time working Americans across all industries.
5. When it comes to work-life balance and productivity in the US, the average worker spends 14.4 hours per day on personal care and leisure.
OECD statistics that encompass 40 countries worldwide reveal that work-life balance in America is very poor.
The study placed the US in the 30th place based on the amount of leisure time given to workers in this country.
Namely, an average American worker spends 14.4 hours per day on personal care activities.
This includes eating and sleeping, as well as leisure activities like socializing and spending time with family. This is slightly less than the global average of 15 hours, according to OECD.
Conversely, Italian workers spend 16.5 hours per day on recreation and self-care activities, which puts them at the top of this list, whereas Colombia has the worst score, spending only 12 hours per day on personal care and leisure.
6. Work-life balance studies show that Americans take 26% of their work home.
(Rescue Time, The Balance Careers)
Recent research analyzing 185 million working hours revealed that the average US worker completes only 74% of work at their workplace.
They perform more than a quarter of their tasks outside of the working hours. In fact, 33% of the participants in this survey stated that they worked on the weekends.
BLS data reveals that an average US employee spends 8.5 hours at work on each workday and works 5.4 hours each weekend.
7. Work-life balance articles show that the US has one of the worst vacation scores globally.
(CNBC, Aljazeera, ILO)
In the US, there is no legal provision for paid time off (not even for national holidays), which results in Americans having one of the worst scores in the world in vacation utilization.
A study published in 2019 found that an average American used only 10.2 days off.
Moreover, America is one in just 13 countries that don’t guarantee paid time off. In comparison, the legal obligation for days off for some northern Russian territories is 56 days per year, Iran counts 53 days off, and Luxembourg gives 47 days off to its senior workers.
8. Statistics on work-life balance reveal that 28 million Americans don’t receive any paid vacation or holiday.
John Schmitt, the Vice President of the EPI, stated that nearly 28 million Americans have no paid leave or holidays. Following BLS data, only 84.7% of all American workers got around 10 days of paid vacation on average. What’s more, 52% didn’t even use all of them.
However, the history of work-life balance in the US wasn’t always this bad. Statistics show that from 1976–2000, the average American took more than 20 days off per year, but ever since, the numbers are declining, reaching 16 days off in 2015, and only 10.2 days off in 2019.
9. 25% of women have to return to work within 2 weeks after giving birth, according to work-life balance statistics.
Worldwide, 178 countries have job-protected maternity leave, and the US is the only high-income country that doesn’t offer it on a federal level. Only California, Rhode Island, and New York have legislatures that offer 117 or 180 paid days off.
This, compared to the 1,127 days off that mothers get in Helsinki, looks like a short time, but the rest of the American women only have unpaid leave to look forward to.
However, some women can’t sustain themselves for 12 weeks without any remuneration, so one-quarter of them are forced to return to work only two weeks after giving birth. Further statistics show that 40% of women don’t even qualify for unpaid leave.
10. One of the work-life balance articles from 2019 reveals that 63% of employees rated their supervisors as “moderately low” in terms of family support.
(Harvard Business Review)
The article, published in the Harvard Business Review regarding work-life balance, points out that managers are key figures in having a family-friendly working environment.
Managers achieve this with their direct and indirect actions and opinion, and this was proven to be true mostly for young workers.
A study involving over 400 working parents in Italy revealed that their management had “moderately low” family friendliness in their working environments.
Namely, 63% of the participants in this study gave a score equal to or lower than 3.25 (out of five) to their supervisors based on family support.
Furthermore, 81% of the surveyed workers said that their organizational culture was unsupportive of their personal life.
Productivity and Improvement of Work-Life Balance
11. 15% of the work time in American organizations is time spent in meetings, statistics reveal.
An article published by Cleverism shows that, on a national level, there are 11 million meetings per day, and the percentage of work hours an average US worker spends on meetings depends on their position.
For instance, an average middle-level manager spends 35% of their work time on meetings, and this percentage can reach 50% for higher-level managers. Researchers found that 37% of meetings are adding zero value to the company.
It’s a fact that Americans spend too much time on meetings, and 47% of employees think of them as a waste of time, while 39% admitted to falling asleep during a meeting.
Recent research conducted by RescueTime shows that US knowledge workers spend only 2.8 hours of their workday on productive tasks.
Following this research, one hour and six minutes were spent on neutral activities, and a staggering one hour and 12 minutes on distractions.
Knowledge workers also spent five hours per day on their computers, and this time wasn’t always related to work actions.
Namely, 21% of the time was spent on social media, news, or entertainment. What’s more, the research showed that knowledge workers only got as much as 30 minutes of undistracted, focused work per day.
13. Remote work encourages exercise and increases work productivity, statistics confirm.
(Air Tasker, Dice)
A survey of 3,000 participants shows that remote work can have a great impact on the workers’ lifestyles, as it influenced a major decision in 24% of the respondents, such as doing more exercise.
Remote work statistics show that remote workers exercise 25 min per week more than the average office worker, while at the same time being more productive.
Indeed, those working from home take less time off in sick days and vacation, plus they are more focused on their work, without distractions of office noise and chatty coworkers.
Just saving up on commuting time added up to almost 19 additional days of spare time on an annual level and a better perceived work-life balance.
14. Work-life balance statistics show that physical exercise is a good way to deal with workload stress.
75% of employees that participated in a UK work-life balance survey claimed that regular exercise had been a key factor for them to achieve a better work-life balance, which is supported by the exercise statistics.
50% of the workers claimed feeling more focused in their workplace after starting an exercise routine.
60% of them said that being more productive at work allowed them to have a richer social and family life and to engage in hobbies. However, 35% stated that they’d love to have regular physical activity, but they don’t have the time.
15. National benefits of work-life balance are reflected in $125 billion to $190 billion in savings annually.
A Harvard Business Review study on work-life balance published in 2015 exposed the fact that managing work-life balance is a strategy that can save a staggering $125 billion to $190 billion in healthcare spending per year.
The results show that work-life balance issues, such as working longer hours, lack of control, job insecurity, or unfair treatment, can be extremely stressful, which in turn leads to the development of chronic diseases.
This results in 120,000 deaths per year, while the absence of insurance leads to a lack of treatment. Moreover, there are additional 30,000 deaths directly caused by heavy workloads and job insecurity.
16. 72% of Americans are aware of the importance of the work-life balance aspect when job-hunting.
A 2018 survey shows that the vast majority of Americans are aware of the burnout syndrome. An additional 23% of the surveyed 1022 responders have heard about the term but weren’t sure what it means.
Another 2018 survey of 2,566 respondents revealed that, for 72% of Americans, the possibility of having a healthy work-life balance is a very important factor when choosing a job. Employee retention statistics confirm that workers also tend to stay longer in a job that offers a better balance between professional and personal life.
17. The position of a corporate recruiter is the first on the work-life balance chart.
(Glassdoor, Yahoo Finance)
A Glassdoor survey that was entirely based on employee feedback showed that employees in the recruiting, development, and marketing industries had the highest work-life balance scores in 2016. The corporate recruiter was named as the best job position because it allows for a great level of balance between professional and personal life.
Other positions included UX designer, data scientist, strategy manager, UI designer, and recruiting coordinator.
Conversely, according to Yahoo Finance, marketing specialists, lawyers, surgeons, pharmacists, chief executives, and people in retail and sales have the worst work-life balance scores.
18. Oslo, Sydney, and Melbourne are the cities that offer the most amount of work-life balance, statistics show.
International research published by Aljazeera ranked the world’s biggest cities based on factors such as work intensity, community support, and general livability.
Oslo was named as the world’s work-life balance capital, with an average working time per week of 38.9 hours, followed by Sydney and Melbourne.
The study also revealed that workers in Barcelona and Paris have the longest paid vacations (30 days on average). Helsinki, Oslo, and Zurich were found to have the highest happiness score, while Munich ranked as the least stressful international city.
19. San Diego, San Francisco, and Portland have the best scores for work-life balance, statistics in 2019 reveal.
The work-life balance scores in a 2019 survey published in Aljazeera were estimated by counting the number of working hours, the time needed to commute, and the existence of paid maternity leave.
This US research exposed Detroit residents as the most overworked and with the least amount of work-life balance, followed by employees in Memphis and Atlanta.
The states of Washington, DC, Houston, and Atlanta came in as the most overworked places in the US, while Portland, San Diego, and San Francisco had the best overall scores for work-life balance among the US cities.
20. Losing weight is one of the benefits of work-life balance, stats confirm.
Research conducted by the Maryland School of Medicine found that medical nurses with irregular and longer working hours risked obesity more than those with favorable working hours. Namely, among the 700 nurses with longer and irregular schedules, having no time to exercise or sleep were the biggest causes of obesity.
Another anthropometric study showed that working overtime is correlated with BMI and waist size.
There are many other studies and obesity statistics that suggest that workplace stress and work-life balance issues are tightly linked to this disorder. The lack of sleep-induced hormonal changes and overeating are believed to be the ways in which this correlation works.
Struggling with Work-Life Balance: Statistics and Facts
21. Those who work for 55 hours or more per week have a 1.3 times higher chance of having a stroke than those working standard hours.
(Medical News Today)
Statistics on the work-life balance in America reveal that almost four in 10 workers work at least 50 hours per week. A five-year study shows that individuals clocking in more than 55 working hours per week have a 1.66 times higher risk of developing depression, and 1.74 times higher risk of developing anxiety.
However, the most disturbing of the findings of this study is the elevated risk that these employees had when it comes to stroke, notably 1.3 higher than the workers with average working hours.
The stroke statistics show the seriousness of this phenomenon, which will hopefully make some of them slow down and establish a better work-life equilibrium.
22. 1 in 3 American adults is sleep deprived due to disrupted work-life balance, statistics show.
(CDC, Gallup, Amerisleep, NCBI, Entrepreneur)
One-third of the American population is not getting the recommended seven hours of sleep per day. As per a Gallup survey, 59% of the US population sleeps at least seven hours a night.
The insomnia statistics show that employees working more than 55 hours a week will very likely develop sleep disturbances and be unable to sleep even when they have time to do so.
Furthermore, employees who felt chronically tired took an average of 2.7 times more days off work and lost 4.4 times the productivity of well-rested workers.
23. Work-life statistics show that 80% of US adults feel stressed at work.
(WHO, Harish Saras)
The work-life balance definition involves the notions of achievement and enjoyment. Leisure time can be enough to balance out the workload and workplace stress.
If the workplace stress overrides enjoyment in life, the result is burnout, defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an occupational phenomenon caused by stress in the workplace.
In the US, 80% of the working adults feel stressed at work, compared with only 39% of Australians. Half of those experiencing stress need help to deal with it.
Furthermore, workplace stress causes around $300 billion in loss of productivity each year.
24. About 40% of male physicians and 50% of female physicians are overworked, as per global burnout statistics and work-life balance data.
Due to their erratic schedules and the burden of bureaucracy, physicians are at a higher risk of developing burnout. In a 2018 report that analyzed the data of 15,000 physicians, it was stated that every four in 10 male physicians and half of the female physicians had experienced burnout.
In the US, 9.1% are currently experiencing burnout, and 31% are on the verge, due to the severity and frequency of their symptoms.
25. When it comes to the work-life balance in the USA, stats show that managers are 27% more likely to experience workplace stress and burnout than others.
(Small Biz Trends, Thrive Global)
A recent Gallup study involving 50,000 managers concluded that the multiple tasks of coordinating projects and employees put a lot of pressure and stress on US managers, making them 27% more susceptible to burnout. Juggling bigger and more diverse workloads can explain these statistics.
Another survey involving small business owners found out that the challenge to balance professional and personal life was bigger for women, as 54% stated that it’s not an easy task.
Conversely, 45% of male business owners said that establishing a work-life balance was somewhat difficult for them.
26. Millennials and Gen Zers are the least satisfied with their work-life balance, statistics show.
A nationwide survey including 1,992 cross-generational American employees found that younger generations like millennials and Generation Zers were the most dissatisfied with their work-life balance, despite the fact that they work less than older generations.
The job satisfaction statistics reveal that 18% of millennials felt the same, working 42 hours weekly. These, compared to the 16% of Generation X participants and 12% of baby boomers, leads to the conclusion that younger generations are burning-out faster.
27. 40% of millennials identify as “work martyrs” with a bad work-life balance, statistics in the US reveal.
Millennials are known as the burnout generation due to their work-life balance issues.
According to the survey by Time Off, some 40% of millennials are “work martyrs”, while 48% of them think that this is a well-earned nickname.
Notably, 37% of them are not using all of their paid time off and take 10 vacation days per year or less.
Millennials in the workplace are risking burnout, heart disease, depression, and type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stand in the way of their anxiety of having to as their boss for paid time off.
A 2012 Accenture survey encompassing 4,100 business executives from 33 different countries noted a big connection between technology and work-life balance in executives of medium and bigger enterprises around the world.
Namely, 75% of them reported doing some work during their paid time off, where 71% of them reported checking their emails, 44% were catching up on work, and 30% participated in a conference call.
Furthermore, 40% of the interviewed business executives consider themselves as workaholics, and around 50% of them believed that work-life balance is an impossible goal.
29. 22% of the employees feel exhausted, according to work-life balance statistics from the UK.
Work-life balance stress in the UK has epidemic proportions, where every three in five employees work longer hours, and a surprising one in four overworks by 10 or more hours per week. It is not surprising that following these numbers, 24% of UK employees have difficulties relaxing and disconnecting from worries at work in their free time, and that 26% feel their job stands in the way of their personal commitments.
Furthermore, 22% reported feeling exhausted at work, and the same share felt being under enormous pressure.
What’s more, every two in three workers said that they experienced a work-related health condition, a correlation also revealed by the stress statistics.
30. Work-life balance statistics suggest that 16% of millennials fight-off burnout with Netflix.
(Thrive Global, INC, Workplace Insight)
Studies report that 57% of millennials put great importance on work-life balance, and for 16.8% of them, this aspect of a job position overrides others, like the possibility of being promoted or having a bigger salary.
Furthermore, for millennials, technology and work-life balance are opposing concepts, since the 24/7 availability is what they had to endure since the beginning of their careers, leaving them in burnout. In a recent study, 16% of them said that watching Netflix, Hulu, or TV was their burnout coping mechanism.
However, 9% of them drank alcohol, 8% took drugs, 10% preferred working out, and 7% turned to meditation.
How much time do we spend at work?
An average American spends officially 8.8 hours at work, 35 minutes commuting to work, and 47 minutes getting ready, per weekday. An alternative study says that average working time is actually 9.4 hours per day, adding up to 47 hours per week, and in the case of 11.1% of Americans, the work time is 50 or more hours per week. Statistics show that full-time male workers work approximately 18 minutes more than female workers per day.
How much of your life is spent working?
While an average person spends almost a year (328) in social interactions, and 26 years sleeping, a full-time worker would spend 13 years and two months at work, according to Australian estimations. Americans spend some 90,000 hours of their lives at work.
What does work-life balance mean?
A work-life balance is achieved when workers focus their energy on working and other activities equally, including personal care like exercise, eating, sleeping, caring for others, socializing, and hobbies. In a broader sense, a healthy work-life balance definition is getting enough time to recharge your energy and take part in activities you enjoy. This lets you achieve personal goals while still staying productive and successful at work.
How much work-life balance impacts homelife?
A substantial workload, long working hours, or excessive stress that shifts the work-life balance can make it difficult for a working individual to find time to socialize, take care of their family, or keep their marriage afloat. In addition, stress that is a result of poor work-life balance can lead to burnout and serious chronic diseases and even death.
Achieving a better work-life balance saves money spent on healthcare, lowers infant mortality rates, improves relationships, and makes us more satisfied in general. Stepping up our game in the direction of exercise and spending quality family time can mean lower depression and anxiety, but better productivity, higher employee retention rates, and fewer sick days.
We hope these work-life balance statistics will help you make a substantial change for the better, and keep it all together in these stressful times.
- Air Tasker
- Business Insider
- Business Insider
- Commercial Cafe
- Harish Saras
- Harvard Business Review
- Medical News Today
- NY Post
- On Rec
- Rescue Time
- Small Biz Trends
- The Balance Careers
- Thrive Global
- Thrive Global
- Workplace Insight
- Yahoo Finance