Part One: The Stats
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American adult works 44 hours per week, which is 8.8 hours per day. In contrast, a 2014 national Gallup poll reported that the average full time American adult reports working 47 hours a week, which is 9.4 hours a day. These statistics combined average at 45.5 hours per week, or 9.1 hours per day.
The working American adult now has 14.9 hours left in his or their day.
Now let’s factor in your commute. An American Community Survey 5-year estimate conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau reports that the average commute one way based on metropolitan areas in each state is 26.1 minutes. The shortest average commute reported is 15.4 minutes in Walla Walla, Washington, while the longest commute is 38.6 minutes in East Stroudsburg, PA. The survey continues to be tweaked so that it accurately depicts a true commute of metropolitan areas but rural areas are thus far not represented.
As a result of the limitations of the survey, this commute average may or may not include time spent before and after work taking care of personal matters (taking children to and from school or daycare, etc.) which may or may not affect a true commute time. By combining commute and work time, the average full time working American adult spends 47.7 hours per week or 9.5 hours per day in work-oriented tasks.
The working American adult now has 14 hours left in their day.
On to sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep a night in order to reap the benefits of a good night’s rest. Insufficient sleep can cause various health problems which many people experience since an American adult actually averages 6.8 hours of sleep per day. The impact that lack of sleep has on employee health inevitably supports the need for following the recommended amount of sleep per day. So, let’s say the average person gets 8 hours of sleep per night.
The working adult American now has 6 hours left in their day.
Most working parents mention juggling normal life must-dos like groceries, picking up and dropping off children, cooking, cleaning and paying bills. Furthermore, the unpredictable, but necessary waves of car maintenance and repair, doctors appointments, house maintenance and repair, caregiving and so on. This list of priorities does not include the time needed for personal goals and self care. Some may say that 6 hours is simply not enough time to do all the things that must be done in a day’s time.
That’s where we’ll stop today. Stay tuned for part two where we dive into the research on a work-life balance!
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– CASEY EDMONDS, CHWC, CPT, CMS
Health Advisor | Email Casey