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72% of U.S. Workers Have an Unhealthy Relationship with Their Jobs, Survey Finds

A study of employees in 12 countries revealed that many struggle with self-worth, mental health, and feelings of being a failure.

By Shalene Gupta, Fast Company (TNS)

If you work a traditional 9 to 5, you spend at least a quarter of your life at work, if not more. Ideally, these hours should be delightful, at worst tolerable, but that’s not always the case.

HP surveyed 15,000 employees in 12 countries and asked them about their relationship with work. Overall, the picture is grim. Across the globe, in every industry and every country surveyed, employees say they have an unhealthy relationship with work, one that impacts their physical or mental health negatively.

  • Few employees are flourishing: Only 27% of knowledge workers say they have a healthy relationship with work. India leads with 50% of employees saying they have a healthy relationship with work, while only 28% of employees say the same in the United States, and Japan lags far behind with only 5% of employees saying their work relationship is healthy.
  • What unhealthy looks like: 55% of employees say they struggle with self-worth, mental health, and report feeling like a failure. More than 60% say they struggle with their physical health—poor sleep, exercise, and eating habits.
  • This impacts the quality of work: 76% of people with an unhealthy relationship with their work consider leaving the company, 39% say they are disengaged, and a third are less productive.
  • Employees are willing to take a pay cut for happiness: 83% of employees said they’d be willing to earn less to be happier. Specifically, they’d give up 11% of their salary to work somewhere where employees are engaged and leadership is emotionally intelligent, and they’d give up 13% of their salary to work where or when they want.
Courtesy of HP

“There is a huge opportunity to strengthen the world’s relationship with work in ways that are both good for people and good for business,” said Enrique Lores, president and CEO, HP Inc., in a statement. “As leaders, we must always reject the false choice between productivity and happiness. The most successful companies are built on cultures that enable employees to excel in their careers while thriving outside of work.”


Fast Company © 2023 Mansueto Ventures LLC. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency LLC.