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Men happier than women with work/life balance, survey says

Monday, September 26, 2011  
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Men are consistently happier than women in the office and at home, according to a new survey of more than 670 U.S. white-collar workers by Captivate Network.

Men are 25 percent happier at work than women, eight percent happier at home, according the recent Captivate Pulse Survey. Three-fourths of men report being able to balance their work and personal lives.

The average "extremely happy” person at both home and work is 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. The profile of an unhappy person at home and in the office: A 42-year-old, unmarried woman with a household income under $100 thousand, working in a professional position.

"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.”

Women are far more likely than their male counterparts to take the lead in the day-to-day household chores, the study found. More than 60 percent of the women say they take care of the laundry, compared to 31 percent of men. Fifty-six percent of the women do most of the cooking, compared to less than 30 percent of the men. More than 50 percent of women take the lead in cleaning (compared to 25 percent of men) and 61 percent do most of the grocery shopping, compared to 33 percent of the men.

Men, particularly young single professional, also take it easier at the office. Young, single 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 taking lunch outside the office (5 percentage points higher), walking (7 points) and exercise (8 points). These men also are more likely to take smoking breaks (11 percent) and have sex during work hours (11 percent).

Even more telling: men are 35 percent more likely than women to take breaks "just to relax.”

The impact of a poor work/life balance can be serious, the study found. Nearly 87 percent of respondents indicated that work/life balance affects their health. Women in particular are suffering the effects of poor work/life balance. Nearly 70 percent report feeling stress (compared to 58 percent of men surveyed); 54 percent report headaches (compared to 43 percent of men); 44 percent muscle tension (vs. 34 percent of men); 44 percent weight gain (37 percent of men) and 29 percent depression, nearly the same as men.

"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.

The study also found: Women are 33 percent unhappier than men in the office, middle managers are 171 percent more likely than others to work around-the-clock, professionals making between $75,000 and $100,000 are 23 percent less likely than others to balance work and personal life. Also, adults with young children at home are 13 percent more likely than non-parents to work too much.

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