You are probably quite familiar with the many benefits of maintaining a healthy work-life balance, such as:
- Less stress,
- No work during off-hours,
- Increased motivation,
- More leisure time, just to name a few.
However, in this summary of the original blog post Work-Life Balance: Statistics & Facts (you can find the link to it at the bottom of this text), you’ll hear about some interesting but also astounding facts and statistics regarding work-life balance across the globe among different generations, gender, and work settings.
But first, let’s take a look at how different experts define both work-life balance and the quality of work life.
What is work-life balance?
Simply put, work-life balance means being able to separate work from personal life, but there’s much more to the topic than meets the eye.
Let’s take a look at the various definitions of work-life balance:
“Achieving satisfying experiences in all life domains and to do so requires personal resources such as energy, time, and commitment to be well distributed across domains.” Kirchmeyer (2000)
“Accomplishment of role-related expectations that are negotiated and shared between an individual and his/her role-related partners in the work and family domains.” Grzywacz and Carlson (2007)
“The extent to which a person can concurrently balance the emotional, behavioral, and time demands of both paid work, personal, and family responsibilities.” Hill, et al. (2001)
Apart from being able to separate your personal and work life, having a good work-life balance also entails that you’re able to allocate your resources (time or energy, for instance), manage your emotions, determine your role at work or home, and more.
The major elements of work-life balance
A work-life balance expert, Jeff Davidson, defines 6 elements of work-life balance:
- Self-management and taking care of personal needs,
- Time management and work prioritization,
- Stress management,
- Adapting to changes,
- Managing technology, and
- Managing leisure time and taking regular time off.
What is quality of work life?
Quality of work life encompasses all the physical, mental, economic, and social aspects in the workplace. So, having a caring and supportive higher management, for example, leads to more satisfaction which also benefits one’s work-life balance. Therefore, we can conclude that work-life balance depends on the quality of work life.
This is how experts define quality of work life:
“Involves the satisfaction and motivation in the workplace.” Hackman and Oldham (1975)
“The degree to which individuals are able to satisfy their important personal needs.” Bernadian and Russell (1993)
“The favorable working environment that supports and promotes satisfaction by providing employees with rewards, job security and career growth opportunities.” Lau (2000)
From the said definitions, we can only conclude that the degree of work life quality influences one’s work-life balance.
The major elements of the quality of work life
According to Harvard professor Richard Walton, there are 11 major characteristics that impact work-life quality:
- Employee attitude towards work,
- Fair compensation and job security,
- Personal and career growth opportunities,
- Personal and professional life balance,
- Nature of job,
- Level of stress,
- Job risks and rewards,
- Participative style of leadership,
- Career prospects,
- Fun at the workplace, and
- Alternative work arrangements.
Research findings on how different types of work settings affect work-life balance
Since work-life balance also depends on your work environment, we’ll evaluate what work-life balance looks like in:
Working remotely vs. working on-site
A study conducted by Airtasker has shown that finding a balance between work and life seems to be an issue for many workers. Here are the exact percentages of employees who can’t balance these two areas:
- Remote employees: 29%, and
- Office workers: 23%.
Some possible reasons for not having achieved work-life balance include accumulated stress, lack of free time, and low motivation.
Numerous studies claim distance working has a positive impact on work-life balance. To back up such a claim, LinkedIn’s research says that 52% of all job applicants looked for remote work job listings in 2022. What’s more, Americans save 60 million hours of commute time each day thanks to distance working!
On the other hand, remote workers feel like they have to prove themselves more than on-site employees. Distance workers sometimes go above and beyond to get a promotion or just to prove their worth. Similarly, the increase in off-hour emails and video conferencing may also negatively impact the lives of remote workers.
Flexile vs. non-flexible working
Since Gallup’s research says that 8 in 10 people chose a hybrid or remote work arrangement in 2022, we can conclude that having a flexible work arrangement certainly affects employees’ work-life balance — in a good way.
According to another recent research, 87% of the respondents stated that having a flexible work arrangement — remote or hybrid — improved their work-life balance. Only 3% of the respondents stated they wanted to work from the office.
Based on a different study, 67% of the respondents think work-life balance is the primary reason they search for flexible jobs.
Work-life balance and different generations
Let’s examine how four generations see work-life balance:
- Baby Boomers,
- Gen X,
- Millennials, and
- Gen Z.
Baby Boomers and work-life balance
Born between 1945 and 1960.
For them, earning a living has been a challenging task hence they didn’t pay so much attention to work-life balance.
As a matter of fact, 80% of Baby Boomers have moderate to high levels of stress due to many factors such as managing careers, personal health issues, taking care of grandchildren, and the like.
Gen X and Work-Life Balance
Born between 1961 and 1980.
They grew up seeing their Baby Boomer parents working too much, with little to no work-life balance.
Therefore, Gen Xers give high priority to work-life balance by using their PTO more frequently. For them, a proper work-life balance is a mandatory requirement when looking for a job.
Millennials and Work-Life Balance
Born between 1981 and 2000.
Apart from the need to have a fun workspace with gaming and ”chilling” rooms, according to a 2022 Oyster report, a job that offers a great deal of flexibility is one of the most important traits Millennials look for in a new job.
Generation Z and Work-Life Balance
Born during the mid-to-late 1990s and early 2010s.
Gen Z appears to be pretty similar to Millennials.
Based on the said Oyster report, it seems like 68.95% of the Gen Z respondents value the ability to work from anywhere, as the freedom of choosing their work environment would offer them a better work-life balance.
But, do employees actually leave the company due to a lack of work-life balance? We’ll approach this problem in the next section.
Work-life quality and work-life balance and how they affect employee turnover
Employee turnover is the total number of workers who have left a company in one year.
Let’s evaluate the connection between voluntary employee turnover, work-life quality, and work-life balance.
Work-life quality and employee turnover
To find out whether work-life quality impacts employee turnover of Malaysian nurses, a self-report survey was conducted by a group of different experts in 2019.
The results showed that for the nurses, work-life quality is a vital element “in promoting their obligation and retention in their organization.”
Also, the results proved that nurses who are satisfied with the quality of their work-life are more loyal to the company. Therefore, it is a fact that employee commitment can lower employee turnover.
Work-life balance and employee turnover
A different survey analyzed whether work-life balance could influence Millennial employees in woodworking companies.
The findings of this study demonstrated that companies that invest in employee work-life balance can decrease employee turnover. So, when employees have a proper work-life balance, they tend to stay longer with the company.
Now, how can your location impact work-life balance?
Work-life balance around the globe
Let’s take a closer look at the importance of work-life balance in:
- OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries,
- US, and
OECD countries and work-life balance statistics
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) consists of 38 countries, and as stated in the OECD research from 2020, for the people in those countries, work-life balance brings, “some sense of the balance between both paid and unpaid work.”
The OECD research also analyzed how much time off full-time employees take. Across those countries, the average time off is around 15 hours per day.
Moreover, the results show that men spend more time in leisure activities than women.
Also, the research has shown that women work longer hours than men in OECD countries. On average, women log around 26.8 minutes per day more than men.
The largest gender gaps in time spent in total work for 2022 are found in:
- Estonia, and
In these countries, women work even more than one hour than men, when it comes to total work. In Italy, for instance, women work 1 hour and 28 minutes more than men.
Then again, there are some countries where men work more than women, such as:
- New Zealand, and
- The Netherlands.
In these countries, men work up to 18 minutes more than women, on average. In Mexico, for example, men work up to 42 minutes more than women.
US and work-life balance statistics
According to a study on work-life balance in the US, 70.9% of participants believe that achieving a work-life balance is possible. In line with that, here is the breakdown of different generations of workers and their answer to the question:
How realistic is it for employees to seek a work-life balance?
- Baby Boomers:
- Realistic — 77.1%
- Neither realistic nor unrealistic — 3.8%
- Unrealistic — 19.1%
- Generation X:
- Realistic — 70.8%
- Neither realistic nor unrealistic — 2.8%
- Unrealistic — 26.5%
- Realistic — 67.5%
- Neither realistic nor unrealistic — 5.9%
- Unrealistic — 26.6%
To sum up, those who were most likely to believe that keeping a work-life balance is possible were the oldest ones — Baby Boomers. On the contrary, those who thought keeping a work-life balance is unrealistic were the youngest ones — Millennials.
Here’s how workers perceive an issue of work-life balance, depending on their gender and whether they have children.
- Men (non-parents):
- Realistic — 74.9%,
- Neither realistic nor unrealistic — 4.4%
- Unrealistic — 20.7%
- Men (parents):
- Realistic — 70.7%,
- Neither realistic nor unrealistic — 3.1%
- Unrealistic — 26.2%
Full-time employed men without children are more likely to believe that seeking a work-life balance is possible. However, this isn’t the case with men with children.
On the other hand, here is how women feel about the work-life balance issue.
- Women (non-parents):
- Realistic — 69.4%,
- Neither realistic nor unrealistic — 4.7%
- Unrealistic — 25.9%
- Women (parents):
- Realistic — 69.0%,
- Neither realistic nor unrealistic — 4.7%
- Unrealistic — 26.4%
We can see that full-time employed women gave almost the same answers, regardless of the fact if they are mothers.
Singapore and work-life balance statistics
Singapore being one of the most overworked cities in the world, we’ve decided to get more details about Singaporeans’ stress levels at work and how they perceive work-life balance.
Namely, a whopping 65% of respondents (aged 18 to 67) experienced more stress at work following the pandemic which also made them rethink their priorities such as improving their work-life balance.
This is just a summary of an article previously published on the Clockify blog page. To learn more about the work-life balance, we recommend reading the full article: