2011 Captivate Office Pulse Survey Reveals Men are Happier than Women with their Work-Life Balance


Survey also reveals key attributes of those who have attained a work-life balance


Chelmsford, Mass., September 7, 2011 – Captivate Network, the leading digital media company providing customized, actionable information to millions of on-the-go business professionals throughout North America, has released its latest Captivate Office Pulse survey of more than 670 North American white-collar workers about their attempts to balance their personal and work lives. The research uncovers the profiles of the happiest and unhappiest workers. In addition, the Captivate Office Pulse has identified some of the ways the lack of a work-life balance impacts people and how a healthy work-life balance can be maintained.


Snapshots: Happy and Unhappy People Profiles

When it comes to extreme happiness (in the office and at home), men are consistently happier than women. Men are 25 percent happier at work than women, eight percent happier at home and 75 percent of them report being able to balance their work and personal lives.


So who is the extremely happy person, both at home and at work? He’s 39 years old, married, with a household income between $150-$200 thousand, in a senior management position, with one young child at home and a wife who works part-time.


What’s the profile of an unhappy person in the office and at home? She’s a 42 year old, unmarried woman with a household income under $100 thousand, working in a professional position (i.e. as a doctor or a lawyer). 

“The disparity between men and women when it comes to work-life balance is telling,” said Dr. Gilda Carle, a psychotherapist specializing in work-life issues. “It reflects the reality that while women are as active as men in the workplace, they’re still expected to bear most of the responsibility for domestic activities.”


Inequality begins at home

Women are far more likely than their male counterparts to take the lead in the day-to-day household chores:














Grocery Shopping




Men also take it easier at the office

In the workplace, particularly among young single professionals, men are nearly two times more likely than women to balance their work and personal lives. Compared to their female counterparts, these men are 25 percent more likely to take breaks throughout the day for personal activities. The activities that compare highest against women include activities outside of the office:


Lunch- five percentage points higher

Walk- seven percentage points higher

Exercise- eight percentage points higher

Smoke- 11 percentage points higher

Sex- 11 percentage points higher


Another important fact illustrating the differences between men and women – men are 35 percent more likely to take breaks, “just to relax.”


Lack of work-life balance makes everyone sick – but women sicker

The impact of a poor work-life balance can be serious. Nearly 87 percent of respondents indicated that work-life balance affects their health – particularly women:











Muscle Tension



Weight Gain







“Our research shows that there’s still a lot of work to be done when it comes to health and wellness at work,” said Mike DiFranza, president of Captivate Network.


Health and wellness programs are ineffective

Unfortunately, while nearly one in four employees reported that their companies had created special “wellness programs” to support them in their quest for work-life balance, few people actually seem to benefit. In fact, it was the employees working for companies without wellness programs that were 23 percent happier and balanced. “Our data indicates that although many employers make noble attempts to create effective wellness programs, it’s the environment and culture of an organization that best benefits an employee’s sense of balance,” said DiFranza.


Top traits for achieving work-life balance

The Captivate Office Pulse survey indicated that many of the top traits for achieving a work-life balance are actually in the hands of individuals:


  • Take vacations – 93 percent of happy people do versus only 79 percent of unhappy people
  • Create a weekly to do list  – 66 percent of happy people vs. 57 percent of unhappy people
  • Leave work at a reasonable hour – 89 percent of happy people versus 49 percent of unhappy people
  • Take breaks during the work day – 68 percent of happy people versus 41 percent of unhappy people


Other interesting facts

In addition to determining that men are happier than women, as well as uncovering the traits for achieving a work-life balance, this survey also unveiled some other findings:


  • Women are 33 percent unhappier than men in the office
  • Middle managers are 171 percent more likely to work around-the-clock than other workers
  • Professionals making between $75,000 and $100,000 are 23 percent less likely than other earners to balance work and personal life
  • Adults with young children at home are 13 percent more likely than non-parents to work too much


“We see a clear pattern as we look at the numbers,” said Carle. “Overworked, frazzled, disorganized, pressure on top of pressure on top of pressure – all leading to a sense of unhappiness and dissatisfaction. It’s not a pretty picture, but it’s the unfortunate reality for far too many American workers – particularly women. Perhaps it’s that men have been in the workforce longer, or that women tend to be “overfunctioners” who have difficulty delegating but men do seem to have a better handle on maintaining a healthy balance than their female colleagues.”


Additional Resources

An infographic and an executive summary of the survey findings are available at officepulse.captivate.com. Captivate Office Pulse can be followed on Twitter as well as on Facebook.

About The Captivate Office Pulse

Captivate Office Pulse research is designed to offer an empirical glimpse into the white-collar work place. The Office Pulse is an ongoing research initiative that offers timely analysis and insights that help a variety of audiences – particularly marketers – make better business decisions. This proprietary panel of upscale professionals in the top markets across North America consists of 4,000+ influential consumers and business decision makers. For more information about the Captivate Office Pulse, visit officepulse.captivate.com.



The research used to develop this study was based on the responses to an online blind panel in July, 2011 by 673 people in 14 major metropolitan centers in the US and Canada. Captivate commissioned MarketTools, the leader in software and services for Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) and Market Research to build and manage the panel across Captivate’s footprint of 1,000+ class A office buildings. The panel, consisting of 4,000+ white-collar professionals, is the source for workplace behavior and advertising communications measurement for dozens of Fortune 500 companies and their agency partners.


About Captivate Network

Captivate Network is the leading digital media company reaching millions of on-the-go business professionals throughout the workday across North America. Captivate cuts through the clutter of information overload to provide viewers with content and product messages that are timely, relevant and empower them to balance the personal and professional demands of the workday. Known for its vast network of nearly 10,000 office elevator displays, Captivate continues to expand the delivery of customized, actionable information to a busy, upscale audience via emerging technology platforms. Founded in 1997, Captivate was acquired by Gannett in 2004. For more information visit: www.captivate.com.