Satisfaction with Work-Life Balance Has Dropped

Across several key workplace metrics, worker satisfaction has declined, in 2022.   

Employee satisfaction with their work-life balance, and health and retirement benefit packages, has dropped from last year, Employee Benefit Research Institute data shows.

The 2022 Workplace Wellness Survey, from the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald Research, shows 44% of employees are extremely or very satisfied with their benefits package, compared to 51% last year; and 39% of employees describe the work-life balance at their company as excellent or very good, compared to 48% in 2021.

“It’s important to note the declines measured this year in overall benefits satisfaction and in ratings of work-life balance, which contrast with stable job satisfaction, and the belief that remote work has improved well-being and underscore the need for employers to ramp up well-being efforts,” Lisa Greenwald, Greenwald Research president & CEO, says in a press release.

Workers’ concerns about personal debt levels and their households’ financial well-being have each increased by double-digits, the survey finds.

The data shows 80% of employees describe their level of debt as a problem, a 15-percentage point increase from 2021, and 60% of employees are concern about their household’s financial well-being, an 11-percentage point increase above last year.

EBRI data shows workers are grappling with increased financial anxiety, over debt, household finances and needing additional benefits not offered by their employers.

For example, the survey finds 19% of employees say more benefits and resources to help with caregiving would be the most valuable improvement to their employee benefits package.

Additionally, the data shows 23% of employees say they are currently offered paid caregiver leave for children or elders, 23% are offered childcare assistance or subsidies and 18% offer eldercare assistance and subsidies.   

“Six in ten employees agree that it is challenging to keep a good balance between work and caregiving responsibilities,” the survey report states. “Half cite generally feeling overwhelmed and stressed as the top challenge they face balancing work and caregiving responsibilities. [And] 35% cite having enough time with loved ones [and 34% note] significant financial strain and debt as challenges.”

EBRI data also shows 24% of employees report their employer offers subsidized or complimentary child or daycare; among workers with access, 65% have used it and 44% are interested in having the benefit available. 

Among those surveyed, 45% say saving enough for retirement is the top cause of financial stress, while 41% said it is  having savings in case of an emergency and 41% said it was paying monthly bills, the survey finds. Among workers who cite monthly bills as a top stressor, 53% say their mortgage or rent and 52% said groceries cause them the most stress, according to EBRI.

Among employees who say their debt is a problem, 78% describe their household’s level of credit card debt as a problem, 57% say debt is medical or health-related and 51% say student loan debt is a problem, according to the survey.

The 2022 Workplace Wellness Survey was conducted in 20-minute online interviews, with 1,518 full-time and part-time workers, ages 21–64, from July 13 to 29.