Global Work Life Wish List

Today’s post is submitted by Joyce Maroney, Executive Director of the Workforce Institute. What’s the #1 item on your work life wish list?

You probably didn’t know that today is National Napping Day. We especially need this in the US as a result of turning the clocks ahead Sunday morning to comply with Daylight Savings time. Many of us spend the next few days trying to catch up on that lost hour of sleep. It turns out, though, that 27% of nearly 3000 workers we surveyed worldwide would want to get more sleep if they had more time in the day. And this is just one item on a worker’s work life wish list.

We asked employees across Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Mexico, the U.K., and the U.S. how they view their relationship with work and life. In Part one of this research, “The Case for a 4-day Workweek?,” we found that 75% of workers worldwide say it should take fewer than seven hours a day to do their job. Yet, 71% of those respondents said that work interferes with their personal lives. In Part two, “What Would You Do With More Time?”, we asked workers for specific details about how they’d spend extra time at home and at work if they had the time to spare. The highlights of their responses are below.

In their personal lives the top five things people worldwide wish they could do more of are spend time with family (44 percent); travel (43 percent); exercise (33 percent); spend time with friends (30 percent); and pursue their hobbies (29 percent).

  • Rest and relaxation were also big themes, as 27 percent of people worldwide said they would want to get more sleep and nearly one-quarter (22 percent) would focus on mental health. More sleep is a universal desire regardless of age – from Gen Z (27 percent) to Baby Boomers (26 percent) – although U.S. workers (33 percent) crave more sleep than all other nations, with Indian workers desiring the least amount of additional shuteye (16 percent).
  • While all nations rate spending time with family and travel as their top two desires, the remaining top five “more time” wish lists vary by country. For instance, employees in France, Germany, the U.S., and the U.K. listed “sleep more” as a top five-priority; U.K. and India workers wish they had time to learn a new skill or hobby; people in Mexico and India would spend more time watching TV, movies, or listening to music; and Mexico employees were the only ones to have “read more” in their top five. Boomers in particular want to travel more, with 51% saying they’d like to travel more – perhaps to make up for lost time?
  • On the bright side, 62 percent of all workers agree that their job offers enough flexibility to have a healthy work-life balance, while only 14 percent either disagree or strongly disagree.

At work, personal development tops the list of where workers wish they could spend more time personal development tops the list.

  • Regardless of age, role, level, or country, all employees wish they could spend more time developing new skills, as it was the top-rated answer for both individual contributors (44 percent) and people managers (40 percent) alike – with exactly half of Gen Z respondents and 47 percent of Millennials looking for more time to develop skills.  This desire is especially acute in India, with 66 percent of employees wishing they had time to develop new skills. The U.K. (49 percent), Mexico (48 percent), and Australia (47 percent) followed suit as the nations where more professional development is desired the most.
  • People managers specifically would spend more time with people, as four of their top six answers include developing or training employees (no. 2); building relationships with their team (no. 4); coaching or mentoring others (no. 6 – tie); and helping customers (no. 6 – tie).
  • While helping customers was the second highest-rated wish for individual contributors (31 percent) – and a greater desire the older the worker – the remaining top-five desires fall squarely in the personal maintenance camp: take a meal break (no. 3); take a mental break / meditate (no. 4); and catch up on work (no. 5).
  • Both managers and employees – especially in Australia – wish they could spend more time on long-term or significant projects (27 percent and 23 percent, respectively), and 23 percent of employees wish they had more time to innovate, brainstorm new ideas, or find a better way of doing things.
  • Workers in Mexico (37 percent), Canada (27 percent), and Germany (26 percent) would use extra time to exercise during the workday. On the opposite spectrum, only 13 percent of U.K. employees would use extra time to exercise, but 32 percent wish there was more time to eat.
  • Workers in Australia, the U.K., and the U.S. apparently feel the busiest, as they are most likely to spend additional time in the day simply catching up on work. Organizations in France need to give their workers a little more attention, as one in four French workers would spend extra time looking for a new job compared to the worldwide average of 16 percent and Mexico at only 11 percent.

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Photo Credit Paul Bradbury

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