Work is a necessary part of life. You have to earn money to get the food, shelter, clothing, and other essentials you need to live – not to mention the fun things you want. But work can very easily become a burden.
In today’s constantly connected world, maintaining a proper work-life balance is particularly difficult. When you’re reachable at all hours of the day, you’re tempted to respond to work correspondence, contribute to projects, and keep working after you get home.
The lack of work-life balance is a global problem; but it’s especially problematic in the United States, where employees are near-addicted to work. Failing to have a healthy work-life balance can lead to personal failures like missing important life events; but it can also contribute to burnout, depression, and lost productivity. That’s why it’s so important for employers and employees both to facilitate proper work-life balance. These statistics can help make the case for improving work-life balance.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) studied work-life balance in 38 leading economies using metrics such as hours worked per week and time dedicated to personal and leisure activities. The United States did not rank well. 
Although the United States doesn’t score well, most Americans believe that work-life balance is very important when considering a job. 
One of the major reasons America scores so low from the OECD is because so many people work more than 50 hours per week. The number one country, The Netherlands, has only 0.5% of people working more than 50 hours per week. 
Despite how much Americans work, studies show that the average full-time worker spends less than three hours on each day on actually productive, meaningful work. 
Unsurprisingly, a strong majority of Americans feel like they’re lacking balance between work and life. That’s discouraging for the general workforce. 
The lack of balance is so significant that a third of Americans work on their days off with regularity. 
Americans are so used to working outside of their normally scheduled working hours that they do a quarter of their work during that time. 
The Harvard Business Review reports that the average worker puts in at least an hour of work outside of their normal work hours very frequently. The study shows that they also work at least an hour on half of all weekend days. 
The OECD found that women are more likely than men to report better work-life balance and are less likely to miss important family events due to work. This is at least in part because they tend to work shorter hours. 
Overbearing bosses are the primary reason people have poor work-life balance. Other leading contributors are people constantly working outside of business hours (39%), inflexible work hours (39%), incompetent coworkers (31%), and long commutes (30%). 
One of the biggest contributors to poor work-life balance? The fact that it’s so normalized! Nearly half of full-time working Americans feel answering work emails at the dinner table is fine. Sometimes, you have to make a conscious choice to disconnect. 
More than half of Americans have missed important life events because of work. That’s problematic. Even worse, 68% say they have poor morale and 36% say they’re actually less productive when they have a poor balance between work and life. 
Not only does poor work-life balance kill morale, it has far more significant long-term impact on employees as well. Employees who work very long hours are nearly twice as likely to develop depression than those who work a normal 35-40 hour workweek. 
Most employees think flexible schedules would be a simple solution to improve work-life balance. Simply letting people complete errands on their own time as long as they get their work done would go a long way toward happier employees. 
The world is getting very used to working remotely these days due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it may bode well for work-life balance. More than half of employees think remote work improves work-life balance. 
The United States ranks poorly on work-life balance. Americans work long hours and are so accustomed to working outside of work hours and on weekends that working all the time has become normalized. But today, employees and employers alike are coming up with creative solutions like flexible work schedules and remote work to improve work-life balance. That may just bode well for productivity.