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Only three in 10 Brits are happy with their work-life balance

Just three in 10 Brits are happy with their work-life balance, a study has found. (Getty Images)
Just three in 10 Brits are happy with their work-life balance, a study has found. (Getty Images)

The average Brit’s work-life balance is 55% work – and just 45% pleasure, according to new research.

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

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

Trying to get the perfect work-life balance can be a challenge. (Getty Images)
Trying to get the perfect work-life balance can be a challenge. (Getty Images)

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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%) admit to sending or reading emails outside of their contracted hours, while others catch up on work they didn’t get time for during the day (42%) and admin tasks (38%).

It also emerged that more than half work during their commute, which typically lasts 35 minutes, with 54% 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 6:22pm, although a fifth claim work is always on their mind.

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“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," says James Wheatcroft, spokesperson for Novotel.

“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.

"Worryingly, the results show more than a third have had to take time off work due to stress."

The research, which also polled adults in other countries, found Germany has the worst work-life balance –58% and 42% respectively – while Poland has the best with a clear 50/50 split.

Going for a walk or a run outdoors can help you to wind down. (Getty Images)
Going for a walk or a run outdoors can help you to wind down. (Getty Images)

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

Despite that, Germans clock off and wind down the earliest, at 5.36pm, while Polish workers don’t switch off and relax until 6.55pm. Strangely precise timings!

While Brits manage six hours 37 minutes of ‘me time’ a week, Germans get the least at five hours 46 minutes, so we should count ourselves lucky.

Despite this, more than a third of Brits would like to have more ‘me time’ in general and 30% want to make this a priority for 2022. However, just 26% feel they prioritise ‘me time’ over their job.

So how are we all winding down at the end of a hectic day? 57% of us watch TV to help us relax, 39 per cent go for a walk or run and 27% go shopping.

While a fifth feel their work life balance improved during the pandemic, 33 per cent have spent longer working than usual. Perhaps it's time to check your own work-life balance?

Additional reporting by SWNS.