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More people than ever are working remotely and riding the waves of the work-from-home life. There are the highs (like increased productivity and reduced stress levels) and the lows (like feelings of loneliness and inconsistent communication).
But one of the biggest talking points when it comes to remote work? Work-life balance.
Yes, remote work offers plenty of flexibility and freedom, which is helpful when it comes to evening the scales between our professional and personal lives. However, remote work also blurs a lot of boundaries and makes it difficult to disconnect from “work mode.”
Need proof? Below, we’ve rounded up a bunch of different remote work-life balance statistics in the following categories:
Read on for work life balance stats that tell the story of why work-life balance matters, and how the remote work lifestyle impacts workers’ abilities to even the scales between their professional lives and their personal lives.
What do employees—remote or not—want from their employers? Of course, everything from development opportunities to adequate compensation carries weight. But, you might be surprised by how much work-life balance matters to employees. These work life balance stats illustrate just how important work-life balance is to today’s workers:
1. 38% of people say their organization never or rarely makes it possible for employees to have a healthy balance between work and life.
2. One third of workers say work-life balance is the most important of all benefits.
3. 66% of full-time employees in the U.S. do not strongly believe they have work-life balance.
4. 51% of people say they have missed important life events because of inadequate work-life balance.
5. 68% of employees say poor work-life balance negatively impacts their morale and motivation at work.
6. Employees who work more than 55 hours per week are at a higher risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
7. Employees who work more than 55 hours per week are 1.66 times higher risk of depression, and a 1.74 times higher risk for anxiety.
8. 33% of employed adults in the U.S. work and average Saturday, Sunday, or holiday.
9. 28 million Americans don’t get any paid vacation or paid holidays, which is a real detriment to their ability to maintain adequate work-life balance.
10. 31% of employees are willing to take a pay cut of up to 5% in order to be able to work from home at least some of the time.
11. 53% of employees say a role that allows them to have a greater work-life balance and better personal well-being is “very important” to them.
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world on its head—including forcing the majority of in-office employees to suddenly pivot to remote work. That presented a number of challenges with regard to communication and collaboration. However, it also threw a wrench into workers’ perceptions of work-life balance. Here are some statistics that highlight how work-life balance has shifted since the start of the pandemic.
12. 65% of people admit that now that they’re working remotely, they’re working longer hours than ever before.
13. Seven in 10 Americans working from home during COVID-19 are struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
14. 56% of people say they’re more stressed about work than ever before when working from home during COVID-19.
15. The average workday lengthened by 48.5 minutes following stay-at-home orders and lockdowns.
Remote work gives employees more flexibility, which can mean great things in terms of work-life balance. When working remotely, many employees find it easier to build their work around their life, and not the other way around. Here are some statistics about the work-life balance perks related to working remotely under normal, pre-COVID circumstances.
16. 32% of people say that the ability to have a flexible schedule is the biggest benefit of working remotely.
17. 67% of people said their work-life balance improved when they started working remotely.
18. 30% of people say they start and finish work earlier when working remotely during quarantine.
19. 75% of people who work remotely do so because they say they have fewer distractions.
20. Work-life balance is the top reported reason that people seek flexible work, with 76% of respondents citing that factor.
21. 86% of people feel that working remotely reduces their stress levels.
22. 86% of people say that flexible or telecommuting jobs help them save money.
23. 97% of people say a job with flexibility has a huge improvement or positive impact on their overall quality of life.
24. Remote workers say they’re happy in their jobs 29% more than on-site workers.
25. Working remotely saves an average of 40 minutes daily on commutes.
While that increased flexibility makes up for a lot, it doesn’t mean that adequate work-life balance is a given for people who work remotely. That’s because working from home presents some unique challenges—like losing separation between your professional responsibilities and personal life, as well as struggling to unplug. Here are some statistics about the work-life balance challenges that remote workers face.
26. 51% of employees are experiencing burnout symptoms while working from home.
27. 40% of remote workers say unplugging after hours is the biggest challenge of working remotely.
28. 67% of people working remotely feel pressure to be available at all hours of the day.
29. 29% of remote workers say they struggle to have work-life balance, compared to 23% of in-office employees.
30. On average, remote employees work 1.4 more days every month than those who work in an office.
31. Remote workers spend an additional three hours on their computers, when compared with in-office employees.
We all need some time to unplug and decompress from our work responsibilities, but that’s not always so easy when you’re a remote worker. Short breaks might be easier and more accessible, but true, unplugged vacation time isn’t quite as easy to come by.
32. 36% of remote workers in the UK said they were taking more breaks when working remotely than they did when they worked in the office.
33. 52% of people who are working from home aren’t planning to take any time off to decompress.
34. Despite the fact that many remote employers offer unlimited vacation, a large chunk (43%) of remote workers took between two and three weeks of vacation time in 2019.
35. 20% of remote workers took somewhere between no vacation and only one week in 2019.
In some ways, the above work-life balance stats are encouraging. Plenty of people are reaping the benefits of increased flexibility and perhaps even shorter work days as a result of working remotely.
But, it seems like a larger percentage of people are struggling with maintaining adequate balance when working from home.
Why? Well, there’s a myriad of reasons that balance is a growing challenge for remote workers. Let’s dig into some of the biggest root causes behind these numbers.
When you work in a traditional office environment, the end of your day typically involves signing off from your computer, packing up your bag, and leaving your workspace behind. You physically remove yourself from your office and can successfully leave work at work.
Things aren’t quite so clear cut when working remotely. Even if you’ve wrapped up your workday, your computer and to-do list are still omnipresent. Maybe they’re just down the hall. Or perhaps they’re sitting there in the corner of your bedroom. Maybe they’re smack dab in the middle of your kitchen table.
When your home becomes your workspace, that lack of geographical distance between you and your work responsibilities can make it increasingly challenging to maintain a reasonable sense of work-life balance.
As a bunch of the work-life balance statistics showed, there’s not always a clear stop to your workday when working remotely.
In an office, you likely sign off around the same time every day and don’t return until the next morning. But, your work can creep into other time windows—like evenings and even weekends—when you work from home.
This is compounded by the fact that, today, many remote workers are juggling their work responsibilities with a number of other obligations. For example, perhaps they need to dedicate a few of their afternoon work hours to helping their kids with homeschool. That means those work hours get shifted to the evening, when they should be disconnected and relaxing.
While that flexibility to fit work hours in when you can is a definite perk, it does muddy the waters in terms of work-life balance. There aren’t distinct boundaries between your work time and your personal time.
When your work is right around the corner and your work hours are all over the place, you feel mounting pressure to be constantly signed on and in “work mode.”
You’ve likely experienced it: Some people are sending or responding to work emails at midnight or even over the weekend.
Because there’s no longer an easy distinction between work time and everything else, many remote workers feel like they need to be readily accessible to their colleagues and reply to pings and messages in a shorter timeframe than when they were working in-office. That can contribute to increased feelings of stress and overwhelm.
In a traditional office environment, it was easy for you to see what your coworkers were working on. And similarly, you know that your boss could take one quick peek at you at your desk and know that you were hard at work on your various tasks.
But when you’re working remotely? That visibility is greatly reduced.
In some ways, that positive. It means your manager isn’t constantly peeking over your shoulder. However, it can also inspire a lot of doubt and insecurity. Will your supervisor have visibility into the hard work you’re doing, or will it slip by unnoticed? Will you still be seen as valued and necessary in your position, or will the old “out of sight out of mind” sentiment creep up?
Those concerns can fuel work-life balance struggles, because employees feel the need to work even harder—as if longer hours means greater security in their roles.
The prevalence of remote work continues to rise, and it comes with its fair share of advantages and drawbacks.
But, when it comes to maintaining work-life balance as a remote worker, it can feel like the cards are stacked against you. For that reason, it takes a conscious effort to avoid having your work responsibilities monopolize your home and your entire life.