Work life balance statistics in the UK

The latest facts and figures on work life balance in the UK
Andrew Fennell photo Andrew Fennell | Feb 2023

Achieving a perfect work life balance is something many of us strive for. But what exactly does a good work life balance consist of, and how many of us are really achieving it in the UK?

We’ve collated all of the latest data available from studies and surveys across the web, to bring you all of the vital work life balance statistics you need in 2023.



Key UK work life balance statistics 2023

  • 31% of UK employees feel that they do not have a good work life balance.
  • 50% of all employees who switched jobs in 2002, did so to achieve a better work life balance.
  • UK employees work the longest hours in Europe with an average of 42 hours per week.
  • Over half of millennial fathers say they want to move to a job that allows them to spend more time with their children.
  • 88% of UK employees have experienced burnout in the last 2 years.
  • Almost 3 in 10 workers (28%) believe that they are less productive in work due to a poor work-life balance.
  • 82% of Brits do not take a full lunch break, with two thirds of workers eating lunch at their desk most days.


Work life balance statistics


How important is work life balance to job seekers?

We know that work life balance is important, but are we ensuring that we look for it when searching for a job?

  • Two thirds of UK employees (66%) feel that work-life balance is a crucial consideration when applying for a job.
  • More than half (55%) of employees want to work for a company who will actively support their mental health. This percentage has doubled in the last 10 years.
  • Half of all employees will expect employers to offer some form of remote work in a job offer.
  • People between the ages of 24 to 44 years-old are twice as likely to prioritise work-life-balance over salary, than 18 to 24 year-olds – telling us that work-life balance becomes more important to us as we get older.
  • 50% of all employees who switched jobs in 2002, did so to achieve a better work life balance.


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How does work-life balance rank among most desirable job factors?

According to research from Lenovo and Cebr, in 2012, work life balance was ranked as the 8th most important factor to candidates when looking for a job. Today, work life balance is voted as the number 1 factor to job searching candidates.

A similar survey from CIPHR found that work-life balance was the number one factor to job seekers, with the following aspects ranking in the top 10.

RankingJob factor popularity ranking
1Work-life balance (67%)
2Pay and benefits – total rewards package (59%)
3Job security (57%)
4Job satisfaction (53%)
5Healthy work environment (42%)
6Recognition: feeling valued and appreciated (37%)
7Feeling safe at work (36%)
8Feeling included / belonging at work (33%)
9Right to disconnect from work outside of usual working hours (26%)
10Promotion opportunities / career progression (25%)


Are UK employees happy with their work life balance?

Do we think that we are getting a good deal on work life balance in our current jobs?

  • A recent study from Lenovo and Cebr found that just under a third of UK employees (31%) feel that they do not have a good work life balance in their current job.
  • A Glassdoor poll of UK workers found that more half of UK employees admit that their work regularly eats into their personal life
  • Almost 7 in 10 (66%) of employees are intending to make changes to improve their current work life balance.
  • Just under a quarter (23%) of employees would like to see a reduction in the number of hours they work every week, according to a Glassdoor survey


Work life balance and hours


How has the pandemic affected work life balance?

How big of an impact did the pandemic have on work-life-balance and our attitude towards it.

  • A recent survey of UK workers from Novotel found that 1 in five people claim that their work life balance improved during the pandemic.
  • A third of workers found themselves working longer hours during the pandemic.
  • More than 3 quarters of UK employees (79%) claim that the pandemic had encouraged them to seek a better work life balance in their career.


How many hours do UK employees work?

UK employees work an average of 42.0 hours per week. This is the highest weekly average in Europe which has an average work week consisting of 40.2 hours (2.2 hours less).


Average working hours UK and Europe


Are UK staff working outside of contracted hours?

Working outside of your regular work hours is an almost guaranteed method of tipping your work life balance in the wrong direction, so how many of us are guilty of doing it

  • 43% of UK workers admit to regularly working unpaid overtime.
  • Almost 2 thirds of employees (64%) feel pressure to be constantly contactable for work via digital devices.
  • Novotel report that over half of UK employees send work emails outside of their contracted hours and 42% use free-time to catch up on unfinished work.


Are UK workers taking breaks and holidays?

UK employers are legally required to provide their staff with one break per day and varying amounts of holiday depending on the contract – but are we actually taking those permitted breaks?

  • According to a YouGov poll, 38% of UK employees have made or received a work call whilst on holiday.
  • One quarter of UK employees admit to missing out on holiday allowance in order to meet a work deadline.
  • According to research from Mastercard, 82% of Brits do not take a full lunch break, with two thirds of workers eating lunch at their desk most days.


Does work life balance affect family life?

Spending quality time with family and friends is an important aspect of our lives, and work-life balance can have a huge impact on our ability to do so.

  • 60% of UK employees claim that a poor work-life-balance has had a negative effect on their relationships at home.
  • A quarter of people find it difficult to relax at home with their family because they struggle to switch off and stop thinking about work.
  • Brits spend an average of 9 hours per weekday working, compared to just 3.5 hours per weekday with their families
  • According to a Caboodle study, 50% of UK fathers find balancing work and family a source of severe stress.
  • Over half of millennial fathers say they want to move to a job that allows them to spend more time with their children.
  • Almost 9 in 10 (89%) of working UK parents would like to see childcare options available in their workplace, yet only 11% of employers provide childcare as a benefit.


millennial fathers


Does work-life balance affect productivity?

We know that work life balance makes a big difference to working people, but does it have any effects on the quality of work being produced for employers.

  • A recent Deloitte report found that poor mental health in employees costs UK businesses £56 billion annually.
  • Almost 3 in 10 workers (28%) believe that they are less productive in work due to a poor work-life balance.
  • Research by the Corporate Executive Board found that people who believe they have a good work-life balance, work 21% harder than those who do not.
  • Employees who take all of their annual leave entitlement were found to be 40% more productive than those who don’t.


How does work life balance affect mental health?

With poor life work balance often cited as a source of stress, what do the numbers tell us about the impact it has on our mental health.

  • 27% of UK employees say that working longer hours makes them feel depressed.
  • 4 in 10 people admi to neglecting their mental health because of work
  • Night shift workers are 33% more likely to suffer depression than those working a regular 9-5 work pattern.


Are UK employees suffering from burnout?

Burnout is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion, caused by working in a physically or emotionally draining role for long periods of time.

  • A third of UK workers say they regularly suffer from burnout.
  • 88% of UK employees have experienced burnout in the last 2 years according research by LumApps
  • 31% of employees have suffered from “physical and mental exhaustion” due to workplace pressures
  • 8 in 10 of surveyed employees who experienced burnout cite lack of work-life-balance as the root cause.



Are employees happy with remote working?

The rise of remote working provides many positives towards achieving a good work life balance, such as reducing commute time and allowing for flexible working. However it also comes with negative side effects, such as loneliness and employees struggling to maintain boundaries between work and home life.

  • More than half of employees claim to be happier and have more job satisfaction when working remotely.
  • 1 in 5 workers struggle with loneliness when working from home.
  • 34% of Brits working at home say that it has placed a strain on relationships with partners and children.
  • 31% of workers feel they have to be twice as productive when working remotely.
  • 22% of people find it hard to switch off after finishing a day of working a home.


Employee burnout


The effects of commuting on work life balance

How does the daily commute affect our work life balance, and how much time do spend commuting?

  • 63% of commuters who have a spend less than 30 minutes commuting per day, say that they are happy with their work life balance.
  • Only one third of employees who commute for over 2 hours per day are happy with their work life balance.
  • The average UK worker commutes for 30 – 45 minutes per day.


What benefits do UK employees want?

What do UK staff value most in work perks, and are employers meeting their demands?

  • CIPD research tells us that only 41% of UK workers are happy with their benefits package.
  • A recent survey from Bionic shows that flexible working is the most sought-after employee perk in the UK with 51% of people requiring it from a new job.
  • In accordance with the above, 4 in 5 (82%) of employers believe offering employees flexibility in where and when they work is essential in attracting and retaining talent.
  • Throughout 2022, 4.3 million employees in the UK had flexible working hours in their work contract.
  • A cycle-to-work-scheme (which offers discounts on bicycle purchases) is the least desired job perk, with only 4% of employees seeking it.


Do colleague relationships affect work-life balance?

The people we work with can have an impact on our happiness at work, and the hours we spend working.

  • 6 in 10 employees blame their line-manager for their poor work life balance
  • 81% of employees feel that their employer is unsupportive of their family life




All of the above facts and figures have been extracted from the sources below and we regularly update this page, with new research and findings.

Lenovo and Cebr work-life balance report:

CIPHR work-life-balance poll:

Glassdoor UK employee survey:

Novotel working from home report.

Aviva work-life-balance VS salary study

SD Work overtime and work life balance report:

CIPD Stress, overwork and poor work-life balance undermine UK job quality

Caboodle Family and work life balance: Why it’s important:

Allianz Work life balance and productivity:

LumApps burnout and work pressures study:

Bionic Most desirable job benefits:

DocuSign business decision maker survey:

CIPD UK working lives:

StandOut CV remote working statistics:

Cranberry Panda Does the commute affect work-life-balance:

Betterup Work-life-balance for managers:

Benenden Health Why employee work life balance matters:

Pyscom  How to Cope with Depression When You Work The Night Shift:

Mastercard Is the lunch hour dead:

Raconteur Corporate Childcare – The next big employee benefit:

TUC British workers putting in lonest hours in Europe:

Deloitte Mental health and employers: