It should come as no surprise that you spend more than half of your adult waking life getting ready for work, commuting to work, and yes, working. People who work at a standard full-time job spend eight hours per day, five days per week, or 2,080 hours per year at work. If a person begins working at the age of 18 and works until they are 65 (47 years in total), that is 97,760 hours of work in a lifetime. In other words, approximately 24 percent of your life during your working years is spent at work. And based on the average life expectancy of 76.4 years for a U.S. resident (CDC), 14.6 percent of your total life is spent at work. According to the 2021 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, U.S. citizens’ one-way commute to work is 25.6 minutes (there was a sharp decline during and after the pandemic) which is 51.2 minutes per day, 256 minutes week, 13,312 minutes/221.9 hours per year, which is approximately 10,429 hours of commuting to work in a lifetime of work, in other words, approximately 2.5 percent of your life during working years is spent commuting. If you are lucky enough to not suffer from insomnia and get eight hours of sleep every night, in this same span of 47 working years you will sleep 137,240 hours, which is approximately 33 percent of the time during your working years. This leaves 40.5 percent of your life remaining to do other things such as getting ready for work, preparing meals, eating three times per day, exercising/self-care, personal hygiene, shopping for groceries, running errands, going to the bathroom, doing housework, spending time with friends and family, engaging in leisure activities, etc. Astonishing to think about it this way, isn’t it?
With such a significant portion of our lives dedicated to work, the importance of enjoying and finding fulfillment in our careers cannot be overstated. If you are 40 years old, you are facing a remaining 5,547.5 hours of commuting and 52,000 hours at the office. These precious hours should not be spent in a draining, unsatisfying environment. As individuals, we must seek fulfillment in our careers. But employers, too, have a critical role to play in transforming these stark statistics into a positive and engaging workplace experience. The time we invest in work is both a personal and organizational commitment. How can employers make work more than a necessity and turn it into an opportunity for engagement, growth and satisfaction?
The Pursuit of Job Satisfaction: An Appeal to Employers
We just did the math. Work is more than just a means to an end – it consumes a significant portion of life for everyone on your team, including you. As an employer, you have the power to make those hours count. Are you doing everything in your power to ensure that your employees are engaged, growing, and satisfied in their careers?
Given the number of hours we all spend working and commuting, it is time to invest in a workplace culture that values well-being, fosters innovation, and recognizes hard work. Let’s make those hours matter.
Here’s What You Can Do:
- Invest in Employee Development: Offer training programs, mentorship, and opportunities for growth.
- Promote Work-Life Balance: Encourage flexible work hours and support remote working when possible.
- Create a Positive Environment: Foster a culture of respect, psychological safety, collaboration, and open communication.
Remember, a happy and fulfilled employee not only benefits the individual, but also the organization as a whole. Do not wait until tomorrow. Start making a difference today.
Email us to learn how we can support your organization in creating a more fulfilling workplace. Together, we can turn these statistics into a catalyst for positive change.
SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau, 2006 to 2021 American Community Survey, 1-year estimates, Table S0801
SOURCE: National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System, 2021 Mortality