One in five Americans would change jobs for better work-life balance

One in five Americans would change jobs for better work-life balance More than half of US and Canadian employees report feeling overworked and burnt out (53 percent), yet the overwhelming majority (86 percent) say they are still happy at work. According to the inaugural Staples Advantage Workplace Index employees are working longer days, with about a quarter of them regularly working after the standard workday is done. A key motivator is to advance in the organization, with nearly two-thirds of respondents seeing themselves as managers in the next five years. Though employees are largely conditioned to working longer hours, about one in five do expect to change jobs in the next twelve months. Steps employers can take to improve happiness levels include; adding more office perks, improving office technology and providing a better office design. Alongside this, with employees working longer days and on weekends, the biggest request is for employers to provide more flexibility.

Dan Schawbel, founder of, and the managing partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm who consulted on the survey, comments: “With the rise of the mobile workforce and the resulting ‘always on’ work culture, it’s not a surprise that employees are feeling overworked and burnt out.”

“While many are still happy at work, we have to ask whether it’s because they’re truly inspired and motivated, or simply conditioned to the new reality? Either way, employers need to retain talent and optimize productivity, engagement and loyalty with employees.”

The research reveals almost four out of 10 employees acknowledge that burnout is a motivator for a new job search. About four out of 10 work on weekends at least once a month, while about half of employees feel like they cannot get up for a break at all, and just under half eat lunch at their desk. The driving force behind the “always on” work culture is the need for employees to complete work they don’t have time to do during the day, followed by a desire to get ahead for the following day.

Burnout is eroding productivity, according to 66 percent of US employees. The biggest culprits in burnout include workload (53 percent), personal pressures employees put on themselves to perform (41 percent) and time pressures (40 percent).

About half of employees surveyed acknowledge they receive too much email, with about one-third of those saying that email overload hurts productivity. Inefficient meetings also appear to be a major productivity drain, with some employees spending more than two hours a day in meetings. More than a quarter of employees say meetings are inefficient. The majority of employees also say a distraction-free environment would increase their productivity by at least 20 percent, citing loud co-workers as the top distraction.

Flexibility is also critical for the recruitment and retention of top talent. In fact, work-life balance was one of the most important aspects to employees when looking for a new job (46 percent), second only to salary. Additionally, one in five employees cited work-life balance issues as a reason for considering a job change, while close to a third identified it as a leading contributor of loyalty.