Work-Life Balance: The Impact of Working Hours on Life Satisfaction and Happiness

Are you working long hours and feeling burnt out? Are you finding it hard to balance work and your personal life? You’re not alone. With the fast-paced nature of today’s work environment, many people are struggling to find a balance between their professional and personal lives. The pressure to be productive and successful can be overwhelming, and it can be hard to find the time to enjoy the things you love outside of work. While researchers have seen that having a higher income is related to higher levels of happiness, what about hours worked? Is 40 hours a week a happy medium? Researchers were interested in seeing if this was the case, and what the mediating roles and other factors might be.

The study looked at 18,060 responses to different surveys related to health, life satisfaction, income, social trust and inclusion, how much they worked, relationship status and their job type. The job types of the respondents varied from government worker to self-employed.  The study’s respondents were all from the European Union.

The results are not at all surprising. Those who worked less had higher life satisfaction, but “mid and high earners prefer to work shorter work weeks while low earners show no preference”. Respondents had more time to spend with family, on other commitments, and responsibilities. Working part-time had a positive impact on the respondent’s health. This positive impact on one’s health was also associated with higher life satisfaction.

The study also found that women are more likely to be happier than men, and that life satisfaction and happiness increased with age. Furthermore, safety, social trust and inclusion were also positively correlated with higher life satisfaction.  Lastly, those who worked in private firms, tended to work less and have higher life satisfaction, whereas other occupations had no significant relationship between their work type and life satisfaction.

The study wanted to highlight to lawmakers the importance of restricting companies from over working employees. The researcher also noted that this study laid the ground work going forward to look into more factors, other than health, that played a role in the process of how working time affects life satisfaction.


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