The Hartford’s New Study Finds Most U.S. Workers Are Happy At Work, Yet Burnout Persists
May 18, 2023 at 08:32 AM EDT
New research from The Hartford, a leading provider of employee benefits and absence management, found 84% U.S. workers are at least somewhat happy at work and 92% aim to do their job well or go above and beyond. However, burnout levels remain high as many employers say their employees work long hours and are expected to be available outside of normal working hours.
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The Hartford's 2023 Future of Benefits Study Infographic (Graphic: Business Wire)
“We are in a unique era in the world of work as employers and workers navigate shifting workplace models to discover what will be the new normal,” said Jonathan Bennett, head of Group Benefits at The Hartford. “It is encouraging to see most workers are happy in their jobs, but employers must take note of the burnout trend. Companies that have benefits and programs in place to support the personal and professional wellbeing of their employees will foster a happy, healthy, and productive workforce that can help their company thrive.”
The Hartford’s 2023 Future of Benefits Study, which polled U.S. workers and human resource benefit decision-makers (employers) found only 16% of U.S. workers indicate they are not very happy or not at all happy at work, with the remaining 84% saying they are at least somewhat happy (9% extremely, 31% very, 44% somewhat).
Despite the trending “quiet quitting” conversation, 92% of workers say they get their work done well or go above and beyond (49% and 43% respectively). Baby Boomers (52%) are more likely than Gen X (41%), Millennials (42%) and Gen Z (36%) to say they go above and beyond at work. However, 60% of U.S. workers are experiencing some level of burnout at work as more than half of employers have high expectations of their workers:
Although work-life balance is a common priority, there is a disconnect between what other factors U.S. workers say make them happy at work and what top actions employers are taking to make employees happy. Aside from salary, the top three drivers of happiness for U.S. workers are paid time off (37%), work-life balance (29%) and a sense of accomplishment (27%). Employers are focused on creating work-life balance (46%), providing good employee benefits (43%), and improving company culture (39%).
Workers value human connections
As many employers continue to discuss what their future work models may look like, U.S. workers see significant value in the personal connections they form at work and most workers prefer some degree of in-person work, which fosters this connectivity.
The Hartford’s national study found 69% of U.S. workers say strong personal connections with co-workers are important and 67% say they have these strong personal connections. Workplace location influences these connections, with more in-person (71%) and hybrid workers (67%) saying they have strong personal connections compared to remote workers (59%).
Although more than half of employers (53%) believe employees at their company would prefer to work remotely full-time if allowed, only 21% of U.S. workers say this is their preference. One-quarter of workers prefer being in a physical workplace full time and more than half prefer to be in person one-to-four days a week. This comes as nearly two-thirds of employers (63%) are requiring employees to come into the physical workplace more often.
Financial stress impacts productivity
In today’s economic environment, U.S. workers continue to feel stressed about their household finances and for some, it is affecting their productivity at work. Three-quarters of U.S. workers feel at least somewhat stressed about their household finances, with 39% saying they feel very or extremely stressed. One-third of workers do not feel secure about their household financial situation, which is highest among Millennials (38%) compared to Baby Boomers (29%), Gen X (31%) and Gen Z (28%).
The financial stress workers are experiencing is affecting productivity in the workplace. Thirty percent of U.S. workers say their financial health always or almost always negatively affects their productivity at work. This is higher than the impacts of mental health (24%) and physical health (18%) on productivity. U.S. workers would welcome financial education offered by their employer, with the top three topics being support for retirement planning (57%), managing debt (38%) and establishing a savings plan (33%).
The Hartford’s research demonstrates that employee benefits remain important to support the overall wellness – financial, mental, and physical health - of U.S. workers and in helping employers attract and retain talent. Overall, most workers feel positive about the benefits they are offered in the workplace and influence their decision to stay in their job:
Despite the positive feelings about the benefits offered, most employers (68%) feel their employees underutilize the benefits and programs available to them. Additional benefits education could help with nearly half (49%) of U.S. workers saying resources to help them better understand which employee benefits would be best for them would be very/extremely valuable.
For more information about The Hartford’s Group Benefits offerings, visit www.thehartford.com/groupbenefits. For more information about The Hartford’s 2023 Future of Benefits study, visit www.thehartford.com/futureofbenefits.
The Hartford’s 2023 Future of Benefits Study was fielded Feb. 14 - Feb. 28, 2023 and included 500 employers and 1,100 U.S. workers. The employers surveyed were HR professionals who manage/decide employee benefits and U.S. workers surveyed were actively employed. The margin of error is employer +/- 4% and U.S. worker +/-3% at a 95% confidence level. The generational breakdowns in The Hartford’s 2023 Future of Benefits Study are: 1997 to 2004 (ages 21-26) for Gen Z; 1981 to 1996 (ages 27-42) for Millennials; 1967 to 1980 (ages 43-56) for Gen X; and 1955 to 1966 (ages 57-68) for Baby Boomers.
About The Hartford
The Hartford is a leader in property and casualty insurance, group benefits and mutual funds. With more than 200 years of expertise, The Hartford is widely recognized for its service excellence, sustainability practices, trust and integrity. More information on the company and its financial performance is available at https://www.thehartford.com.
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