Today is National Napping Day, and it’s no coincidence the celebration is observed the day after Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. With that in mind, The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated picked today to release the second part of a global survey that examined how employees across eight nations view their relationship with work and life, asking the simple question, “What would you do with more time?”
The “What Would You Do with More Time?” survey by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and Future Workplace surveyed nearly 3,000 workers across Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Mexico, the U.K., and the U.S. Part one of the survey, “The Case for a 4-day Workweek?,” uncovered that 75 percent of workers say it should take less than seven hours each day to do their job – yet specific time-wasters attribute to two in five employees working more than 40 hours a week, with 71 percent saying work interferes with their personal lives.
Part two asks employees: If you could get these lost hours back in your day, what would you do with more time? The answers reveal that people wish they could spend more time with family, traveling, and taking better care of their mental and physical health in their personal lives.
With more time, 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 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.
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. When asked what they would do with more time at work, personal development leads the way. 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 craving more time to develop skills.
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. While organizations in France need to watch out, 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.
“While the vast majority of workers say work interferes with their personal lives, it’s clear that people want to do meaningful work and want to do well by their employers,” said Joyce Maroney, executive director, The Workforce Institute at Kronos. “It’s the employer’s responsibility not only to provide workers with the tools, processes, and resources to optimize their time at work, but also to empower employees to best manage work-life harmony with clear and specific time-off policies, creative and self-service scheduling solutions, benefits to help relax and refuel, and, above all, open communication between the company, employees, and their people managers to ensure time while working is time well spent.”
¹ The term “non-managing employees” or “individual contributors,” unless otherwise noted, refers to full- or part-time employees without any direct reports.
² Generations are defined as follows: Gen Z, born between 1994-2009; Millennials, born between 1982-1993; Gen X born between 1965-1981; and Baby Boomers, born between 1945-1964.