Work-Life Balance Survey- 2011

A Report Presented by Captivate Network

September 2011


Executive Summary

The Captivate Office Pulse Survey on Work-Life Balance reveals that when it comes to work-life balance, men are happier than women. The survey of 673 workers shows that men are 25% happier at work and 8% happier at home than women are. The Captivate Office Pulse Survey also has some interesting insights into some of the ways the lack of a work-life balance impacts people and how a healthy work-life balance can be maintained.


Men are happier than women, despite putting more time into the office

After analyzing the results, Captivate was able to identify the most and least happy workers. Interestingly, virtually across the board men seem to be happier than women when it comes to their work-life balance. This despite the fact that men put in more hours of work than women do, both on-hours and off-hours. The margins between happy men and women may not be huge, but the impact, as later results will show, is keenly felt.

  • The survey found that 75% of men say they have a healthy work-life balance compared to 70% of women.
  • The profile of a happy worker: He’s 39 years old, married and has a household income between $150 and $200K. He works in a senior management position, has one young child at home and a wife who works part-time.
  • The profile of an unhappy worker: She’s a 42-year-old, unmarried woman with a household income under $100K who works in a professional position. 
  • Surprisingly, men are happier even though they put in more time at the office. Men work an average of 8.8 hours per day, compared to women who put in an average of 8.4 hours per day at the office.
  • Men are also more likely to work from home during off-hours, clocking in 4.6 hours each week at home on nights and weekends, while women work 3 hours each week off-hours.
  • However, men are more likely to telecommute once or twice a week than women are (30% vs. 18%).


Women are still tasked with most of the household chores

Captivate found that even though women are working hard at the office, they are still playing a more traditional role inside the home, as they are responsible for the majority of housework. This is likely a major reason as to why women are not as satisfied with their work-life balance as men are: their “off time” is generally filled doing more work around the house than men are doing.


  • 62% of women take the lead in doing laundry, compared to 31% of men.
  • 56% of women do most of the cooking compared to 29% of men.
  • 53% of women take the lead cleaning, compared to 25% of men.
  • 61% of women do most of the grocery shopping, compared to 33% of men


Men are less hesitant to take a break when needed

While the results showed that men work longer days, they also show that men are better at blurring the lines between their work lives and their personal lives. Men, more than women, will take a break from work when they need to. This likely results in them feeling less stressed and better equipped to handle the workday than women.


  • Men are 25% more likely than women to take a break in the middle of the workday for personal activities.
  • Some of the activities men are more likely to take part in during a break:
    • Lunch – 5% points higher
    • Walk – 7% points higher
    • Exercise – 8% points higher
    • Smoke – 11% points higher
    • Sex – 11% points higher
    • Men are also 35% more likely to take breaks “just to relax.”


The link between work-life balance and health

Captivate found that a lack of work-life balance doesn’t just lead to unhappiness, but it can also affect one’s health, with a staggering number of respondents of both genders acknowledging that they are cognizant of a link between work-life issues and their health. Given that the survey found women are unhappier with their work-life balance, it’s not surprising that they also have more health issues as a result.


  • 88% of women and 86% of men say work-life issues affect their health. And these issues affect women more deeply than men.
  • For example, 67% of women report feeling stress compared to 58% of men.
  • 54% of women report headaches vs. 43% of men.
  • 44% of women report muscle tension while 34% of men do.
  • 44% of women say they gain weight in response to stress vs. 37% of men.
  • Depression affects the genders fairly equally: 29% of women report depression while 28% of men do.


Happy people are more likely to engage in healthy work-life activities

So how can people be happier and achieve a better work-life balance? Researchers found that happier individuals are actually more likely to engage in certain activities. This shows that people can take charge and take concrete steps to feel better about their work-life balance.


  • For example, 93% of happy people take vacations vs. 79% of unhappy people.
  • 66% of happy people create a weekly to-do list vs. 57% of unhappy people.
  • When it comes to leaving work at a reasonable hour, 89% of happy people do vs. 49% of unhappy people.
  • 68% of happy people take breaks during the work day vs. 41% of unhappy people.


The importance of being balanced

Whether for health, happiness or long-term well-being, maintaining an appropriate work-life balance should be a priority for everyone. As this survey discovered though, maintaining that balance is no simple task. Perhaps the most important finding is the critical role a good cultural fit plays in helping keep people happy, health and sane in the workplace.


Additional Resources

An infographic and a press release on the Survey findings are available at 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



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: