Work-life balance refers to the equilibrium or balance between the time and effort you devote to your job or career (work) and the time and attention you dedicate to your personal life, family, and leisure activities (life).
It's about finding a harmonious blend between your professional and personal responsibilities and interests, ensuring that one doesn't overwhelm or negatively impact the other.
Key trends in work-life balance
* Two-thirds of women in highly flexible work arrangements plan to stay with their employer for more than three years, compared to only 19% of women with no flexibility.
* 81% of all desk workers now want flexibility in their workplace.
* The economic burden includes health-related expenses resulting from employee absenteeism, reduced productivity, and occupational injuries, which contribute $190 billion each year.
* Globally, knowledge workers are more satisfied with remote work than office-based work, showing a +25.7% increase in work-life balance.
* 83% of workers say their personal relationships are negatively impacted by work burnout.
What this means: In today's digital age, these statistics collectively paint a picture of a changing workplace landscape. The strong preference for flexible work arrangements, as indicated by two-thirds of women planning to stay longer with employers who offer such flexibility, aligns with the broader trend of desk workers seeking workplace flexibility. This shift is not just a matter of preference but also an economic imperative, as rigid work structures contribute to health-related costs annually due to absenteeism, reduced productivity, and injuries. The satisfaction reported by knowledge workers with remote work, evidenced by an increase in work-life balance, further reinforces this trend. However, the impact of traditional work models on personal relationships, with 83% of workers experiencing adverse effects due to work burnout, underscores the urgent need for rethinking work structures in the digital era, emphasizing flexibility and balance.
Work-life balance: gender difference statistics
It's fascinating that, even though men often work for more extended periods, women generally are more inclined towards maintaining a balance between work and personal life.
- 34% of women and 26% of men reported feeling burned out "always" or "very often."1
- Women working remotely part-time (hybrid) show higher burnout risk (38%) compared to those working exclusively from home (31%) or fully on-site (34%).1
- There’s a significant burnout gender gap among workers in individual contributor or project manager roles, but little difference in burnout between men and women in managerial positions.1
- The gap in burnout between men and women is similar among workers with and without school-age children.1
- Men's burnout risk is the same regardless of their work arrangement.1
- Deloitte's Women @ Work report found that flexibility in working hours is a top lever of engagement and retention for women.2
- 97% of women believe asking for more flexible working arrangements could adversely affect their chances of promotion.2
- Two-thirds of women in highly flexible work arrangements plan to stay with their employer for more than three years, compared to only 19% of women with no flexibility.2
- One-third of women in hybrid work environments experienced unpredictable working hours and lack of flexibility, with significant increases since 2022.2
- 5% of organizations surveyed fall into the gender equality leader category, showing better support for work-life balance.2
- Only 20% of women working for gender equality leaders report not having enough flexibility, compared to 45% in lagging organizations.2
The gap narrows in managerial roles, likely due to more effective stress management resources. While flexible hours positively affect women's job engagement and retention, there's a fear it might hinder career advancement. Notably, women in flexible roles often stay longer with their employers.
Only a few organizations are seen as gender equality leaders, providing better work-life balance, resulting in fewer flexibility complaints from women. These insights are crucial for understanding gender dynamics and the impact of organizational policies on employee well-being and retention, underscoring the need for inclusive and supportive work environments.
- In 2023, lack of flexibility around working hours became the top reason women wanted to leave their jobs, with 97% of respondents believing that asking for more flexible working arrangements could adversely affect their promotion chances.2
- Global burnout rose to 40% with a notable gender gap, where female workers show 32% more burnout than males.3
- Workers with full schedule flexibility report 29% higher productivity and 53% greater ability to focus than those without.3
- 94% of global desk-based workers desire schedule flexibility, which correlates with higher employee satisfaction and reduced burnout.3
- 46% of women reported feeling burned out compared to 37% of men.3
- Younger workers (under 30) are more likely to experience burnout, with 48% reporting feeling burned out at work.3
- Furthermore, just 67% of males expressed that they considered work-life balance highly significant when selecting a job, in contrast to 78% of females who shared this perspective.4
- 10% of employees in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) work 50 hours or more per week in paid work.5
- In OECD countries, 27% of employees in Mexico, nearly 25% in Turkey, and almost 24% in Colombia work very long hours.5
Work-life balance according to men vs women
- More men work very long hours in paid work across OECD countries (almost 14%) compared to women (about 6%).5
- A full-time worker in the OECD devotes 63% of the day, or 15 hours, to personal care and leisure.5
- 78% of survey respondents want location flexibility, while 95% want schedule flexibility.6
- 52% of women want to work at least mostly remotely compared with 46% of men.6
- 50% of working moms prefer to work from home most or all of the time, compared to 43% of working dads.6
- Working moms are 16% more likely than female knowledge workers with no children to prefer total schedule flexibility.6
These statistics highlight significant gender disparities in work-life balance, particularly regarding burnout and the need for flexible work arrangements.
Work-life balance: generational difference statistics
Work habits and attitudes change as generations enter and retire from the labor market. Although the younger generation is new to the world of work, they are not used to burnout and pressure in the workplace.
- Post-pandemic, satisfaction with work-life balance among Gen Zs and millennials has improved.7
- 77% of Gen Zs and 75% of millennials in remote or hybrid roles would consider a new job if required to work on-site full-time.7
- Nearly half of Gen Zs and 40% of millennials often feel stressed.7
- Six in 10 Gen Zs and millennials feel anxious about the environment, impacting their career decisions.7
- Flexible workers are more likely to feel connected to their teams and managers than fully in-office workers.8
- 42% of the workforce reports burnout, a rise from previous quarters.8
- Flexible work is linked to higher productivity.8
- 57% of flexible workers say their company culture has improved over the past two years.8
- 67% of workers prefer a hybrid work arrangement.8
- Employees who perceive their companies as transparent have 8.8 times greater job satisfaction.8
- Technology innovators show higher employee experience scores.8
- Workers with full schedule flexibility report 39% higher productivity.8
Rising workforce burnout accentuates the value of flexible work in enhancing productivity and positively transforming company culture. Hybrid work is preferred by many employees, with job satisfaction and employee experience being closely tied to perceptions of company transparency and technological advancement.
Remarkable productivity gains are associated with complete schedule flexibility, highlighting its significant impact on employee well-being and organizational efficiency. These trends are pivotal for marketers and designers to understand, as they reflect the changing dynamics of the workplace and the essential role of flexible work models in shaping future employment patterns.
- 53% of those dissatisfied with their flexibility report burnout.8
- Employees experiencing burnout are 3.4x more likely to plan to look for a new job.8
- Women and younger people are more likely to experience burnout.8
- 49% of global desk workers work in a hybrid arrangement.8
- 56% of desk workers have little to no ability to adjust their hours.8
- 81% of all desk workers now want flexibility in their workplace.8
- 31% of academic staff reported working over 10 hours a day, often including weekends.9
- 94% of respondents feel they have good relations with colleagues, and 93% deny experiencing microaggressions.9
- 60% of employees believe they have a good work-life balance.10
How work-life balance has changed since the pandemic
|Think it's gotten worse
|Think it's gotten better
- 77% have experienced burnout in their current jobs.10
- 70% of workers under 30 are willing to check job communications at home compared to 52% of those aged 30 and above.10
- 72% of employees say a good work-life balance is essential.10
- 89% of HR professionals saw increased employee retention with flexible work policies.10
- 90% of employees state that a flexible work schedule would increase morale.10
- 31% say lack of support or recognition from leaders is the biggest driver of burnout.10
- Employees who worked from home were 13% more productive than office workers.10
These statistics provide insight into work-life balance across different generations, highlighting the importance of flexibility, technology, and organizational support in shaping employee satisfaction and productivity.
Burnout refers to being physically or emotionally drained due to excessive work. Overcommitting oneself to work at the expense of personal time can frequently result in burnout and various related problems.
- A significant majority, around 70% of employees, believe their employers' efforts to address burnout are insufficient.11
- Experiencing unfair treatment at work can increase the likelihood of burnout by more than twice, making those affected 2.3 times more prone to it.12
- Burnout leads to a 40% job turnover rate among employees, impacting companies' ability to retain their workforce significantly.13
- Roughly a quarter, or 24% of workers, think implementing more flexible work arrangements and achieving a better work-life balance could prevent burnout.14
- Additionally, 44% of employees attribute their burnout to heavy workloads.15
- In the USA, burnout is the primary reason for employees leaving their jobs, surpassing all other factors, and it costs the economy approximately $300 billion annually.16
- The economic burden includes health-related expenses resulting from employee absenteeism, reduced productivity, and occupational injuries, contributing $190 billion annually.16
- The education sector in the United States also faces a significant economic impact from teachers' burnout, costing about $7 billion annually.17
- Burnout is a severe health concern, contributing to approximately 120,000 additional deaths among American workers each year.18
- Burnout occurs more frequently in larger companies with over 5,000 employees.19
- Only 21% of the surveyed sample had access to workplace burnout intervention measures.19
- Nearly half, or 49%, of employers still need a defined strategy for employee well-being.19
This includes health-related expenses from absenteeism, reduced productivity, and occupational injuries. Burnout, a significant health concern, contributes to additional deaths among American workers each year. Larger companies face higher burnout rates, especially those with over 5,000 employees.
Despite these figures, only 21% of employees have access to burnout intervention, and nearly half of employers need a well-being strategy for employees. This issue demands urgent attention and effective strategies for mitigation.
- Conversely, having a supportive manager reduces the likelihood of employee burnout by 62%.19
- Furthermore, 41% of individuals who work more than 50 hours a week have no access to burnout prevention programs.19
- Around 23% of employees frequently or always feel burned out, while 44% experience burnout occasionally.13
- Low employee engagement, often linked to burnout, can lead to a 50% reduction in productivity.20
- About 70% of professionals believe their employers are not taking sufficient steps to prevent or alleviate burnout.21
- Remote workers are particularly susceptible to burnout, with up to 69% of those working from home reporting burnout symptoms.22
- High burnout levels increase the likelihood of employees visiting the emergency room by 23%.13
- Burnout is associated with a higher risk of mental health issues, with over 60% of work absences attributed to psychological stress.23
What would help avoid or reduce experiencing workplace burnout
- Half of leaders report experiencing high levels of burnout due to increased workloads and pressures.23
- Employers offering comprehensive wellness programs have seen a substantial increase in employee satisfaction, up to 70%.24
- Industrial workers with high burnout levels are roughly 70% more likely to be involved in workplace accidents.24
- Women tend to report higher levels of work-related stress and burnout than men, with a 20% higher risk of burnout.25
- Companies implementing stress reduction and burnout prevention programs have reported a 25% reduction in burnout symptoms.26
Burnout poses a widespread and urgent problem that significantly impacts the American workforce, leading to severe implications for employee well-being, the ability to retain jobs, and the overall economic landscape. Notably, the education sector shoulders a substantial cost of $7 billion.
Remote work-life balance statistics
The recent increase in remote work can be primarily attributed to the global pandemic, which significantly altered the traditional workplace dynamic. Numerous individuals maintained their remote work arrangements as the situation stabilized despite many others returning to their physical workplaces.
- The Remote Employee Experience Index (REEI) is based on data from 4,700 workers primarily working remotely across various countries.27
- Globally, knowledge workers are more satisfied with remote work than office-based work, showing a +25.7% increase in work-life balance.27
- Only 11.6% of knowledge workers want to return to full-time office work, while 72.2% prefer a hybrid remote-office model.27
- Workers with flexible schedules score higher across every element of the index than those working a 9-to-5 job.27
- Asynchronous communication leads to higher “sense of belonging” scores.27
- Biweekly team celebrations and monthly team-building activities significantly impact workers’ sense of belonging.27
- Mothers with children in the USA often experience more incredible difficulty in juggling work and childcare responsibilities compared to mothers in other countries..27
- Historically, underrepresented workers in the USA have higher overall index scores than their white colleagues.27
- People managers face acute challenges adapting to remote work compared to individual contributors.27
The index indicates that flexible schedules and asynchronous communication enhance job satisfaction and a sense of belonging. It also notes unique challenges for USA mothers and highlights higher satisfaction among historically underrepresented workers in the USA compared to their white peers.
People managers face more significant adaptation challenges than individual contributors. This index is a vital resource for marketers and designers to understand and cater to the diverse needs of the modern, global workforce.
- 77% of employees have experienced burnout at least once in their current jobs.10
- 72% of workers believe work-life balance is essential when choosing a job.10
- 43% more remote employees work 40 hours a week than onsite employees.10
- 60% of employees can effectively balance work and personal commitments.10
- 77% of surveyed employees have experienced burnout at their current job.10
- 83% of workers say their personal relationships are negatively impacted by work burnout.10
- 48% of employees identify as workaholics.10
- 72% of employees say a good work-life balance is crucial to them.10
- 57% of employees consider a poor work-life balance a deal-breaker when considering a job.10
- 66% of workers often skip at least one meal daily because of work.10
The benefits of a remote work-life balance
- 79% of workers believe that a flexible schedule improves work-life balance.10
- 89% of surveyed human resources (HR) professionals saw increased employee retention after implementing flexible work policies.10
- Unscheduled sick and vacation days cost companies between $2,600 and $3,600 per employee per year.10
- 90% of employees say that a flexible work schedule would increase morale.10
- 31% of employees say that lack of support or recognition from leaders is the biggest driver of burnout.10
Working time flexibility is becoming a critical factor, as flexible schedules correlate with higher productivity and a stronger sense of team belonging.
The data underscores the overall preference for remote and hybrid work models over traditional office environments, reflecting increased satisfaction with work-life balance, stress management, and job satisfaction.
Frequently asked questions
What’s work-life balance?
Work-life balance refers to the equilibrium or harmony between one's professional life (work) and personal life (family, leisure, and personal well-being). It involves managing and prioritizing time and energy between these two domains.
Why’s work-life balance important?
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential for physical and mental well-being. It can reduce stress, improve overall happiness, and increase job satisfaction. It also allows individuals to allocate time to their personal interests and relationships.
How can I achieve work-life balance?
Achieving work-life balance involves setting boundaries, managing time efficiently, and prioritizing self-care. It may also require clear communication with employers, delegating tasks, and learning to say no when necessary.
What are the signs of an unhealthy work-life balance?
Signs of an unhealthy work-life balance include chronic stress, burnout, feelings of being overwhelmed, decreased productivity, strained relationships, and neglect of personal health and well-being.
Is work-life balance the same for everyone?
No, work-life balance is subjective and can vary from person to person. What constitutes balance for one individual may not be the same for another. It depends on personal values, career demands, and individual circumstances.