Only 3 in 10 Brits satisfied with current work/life balance

A study of 2,000 adults found just three in 10 are satisfied with the current work/life balance, with the ideal considered to be 43 per cent work and 57 per cent ‘life’.

To improve the split, 42 per cent try to get a healthy amount of sleep, 40 per cent avoid discussing work at weekends and 34 per cent take a lunch break each day.

More than a quarter also try to book in social plans to give them something to look forward to away from work.

The study, commissioned by Novotel, found the typical working day lasts seven hours and 39 minutes, but an average of three hours and 55 minutes overtime is worked each week.

More than half (51 per cent) admit to sending or reading emails outside of their contracted hours, while others catch up on work they didn’t get to during the day (42 per cent) and admin tasks (38 per cent).

It also emerged more than half work during the commute, which typically lasts 35 minutes, with 54 per cent claiming they then feel organised for the day ahead.

The average time to ‘wind down’ at the end of the working day was found to be 18:22pm, although a fifth claim work is always on their mind.

The research also polled adults in various countries and found Germany has the worst work/life balance – 58 per cent and 42 per cent respectively – while Poland has the best with a clear 50/50 split.

It also found Brits work the fewest hours, compared to those in Germany, Netherlands and Poland who all work more than eight hours a day.

Germans clock off and wind down the earliest, at 17:36pm, while Polish workers don’t feel switched off until 18:55pm.

And while Brits manage six hours 37 minutes of ‘me time’ a week, Germans get the least at five hours 46 minutes.

Despite this, more than a third of Brits would like to have more ‘me time’ in general and 30 per cent want to make this a priority for 2022.

However, just 26 per cent feel they prioritise ‘me time’ over their job. To wind down, 57 per cent watch TV, 39 per cent go for a walk or run and 27 per cent go shopping.

While a fifth feel their work life balance improved during the pandemic, 33 per cent have spent longer working than usual.

Says James Wheatcroft, spokesperson for Novotel which commissioned the research:

“It’s interesting to see how people split their work and life commitments, with work often taking over from having a social life or down time.

“The past couple of years have no doubt had an impact on our general routines and priorities, especially working hours with many homes also becoming workplaces.

“We want to encourage people to take time and make time for things that matter and help with their general wellbeing – worryingly, the results show more than a third have had to take time off work due to stress.

Chris Price