Worksite Barometer

What Would You Do with More Time?

Workers Worldwide Provide Their Work-Life Wishlist

New research from the “What Would You Do with More Time?” survey by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and Future Workplace. Visit here.

March 11, 2019 — LOWELL, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– On Monday, National Napping Day and the day after Daylight Savings in the U.S., The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated released part two of a global survey examining how employees across eight nations view their relationship with work and life, asking the simple question, “What would you do with more time?”

These results from The Workforce Institute at Kronos and Future Workplace came from a survey of nearly 3,000 workers across Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Mexico, the U.K., and the U.S. Part one, “The Case for a 4-day Workweek?,” uncovered that 75 percent of workers say it should take less than seven hours each day to do their job – yet specific time-wasters attribute to two in five employees working more than 40 hours a week, with 71 percent saying work interferes with their personal lives. Part two asks employees: If you could get these lost hours back in your day, what would you do with more time?

What do people really want?

People wish they could spend more time with family, traveling, and taking better care of their mental and physical health in their personal lives…
With more time, the top five things people worldwide wish they could do more of are spend time with family (44 percent); travel (43 percent); exercise (33 percent); spend time with friends (30 percent); and pursue their hobbies (29 percent).

Rest and relaxation were also big themes, as 27 percent of people worldwide said they would want to get more sleep and nearly one-quarter (22 percent) would focus on mental health. More sleep is a universal desire regardless of age – from

Gen Z (27 percent) to Baby Boomers (26 percent) – although U.S. workers (33 percent) crave more sleep than all other nations, with Indian workers desiring the least amount of additional shuteye (16 percent).

While all nations rate spending time with family and travel as their top two desires, the remaining top five “more time” wish lists vary by country. For instance, employees in France, Germany, the U.S., and the U.K. listed “sleep more” as a top five-priority; U.K. and India workers wish they had time to learn a new skill or hobby; people in Mexico and India would spend more time watching TV, movies, or listening to music; and Mexico employees were the only ones to have “read more” in their top five.

On the bright side, 62 percent of all workers agree that their job offers enough flexibility to have a healthy work-life balance, while only 14 percent either disagree or strongly disagree.

What would you do with more time at work? Personal development leads the way…
Regardless of age, role, level, or country, all employees wish they could spend more time developing new skills, as it was the top-rated answer for both individual contributors (44 percent) and people managers (40 percent) alike – with exactly half of Gen Z respondents and 47 percent of Millennials craving more time to develop skills.

A whopping 66 percent of employees in India wish they had time to develop new skills, with the U.K. (49 percent), Mexico (48 percent), and Australia (47 percent) following suit as the nations where more professional development is desired the most.

Regardless of age, role, level, or country, all employees wish they could spend more time developing new skills, as it was the top-rated answer for both individual contributors and people managers alike – with exactly half of Gen Z respondents and 47 percent of Millennials craving more time to develop skills...

People managers specifically would spend more time with people, as four of their top six answers include developing or training employees (no. 2); building relationships with their team (no. 4); coaching or mentoring others (no. 6 – tie); and helping customers (no. 6 – tie).

While helping customers was the second highest-rated wish for individual contributors (31 percent) – and a greater desire the older the worker – the remaining top-five desires fall squarely in the personal maintenance camp: take a meal break (no. 3); take a mental break / meditate (no. 4); and catch up on work (no. 5).

Both managers and employees – especially in Australia – wish they could spend more time on long-term or significant projects (27 percent and 23 percent, respectively), and 23 percent of employees wish they had more time to innovate, brainstorm new ideas, or find a better way of doing things.

Workers in Mexico (37 percent), Canada (27 percent), and Germany (26 percent) would use extra time to exercise during the workday. On the opposite spectrum, only 13 percent of U.K. employees would use extra time to exercise, but 32 percent wish there was more time to eat.

Workers in Australia, the U.K., and the U.S. apparently feel the busiest, as they are most likely to spend additional time in the day simply catching up on work. While organizations in France need to watch out, as one in four French workers would spend extra time looking for a new job compared to the worldwide average of 16 percent and Mexico at only 11 percent.

Is there a strong argument for a four-day work week? See what the Kronos research says about that…

What they’re saying…

Joyce Maroney, executive director, The Workforce Institute at Kronos
“While the vast majority of workers say work interferes with their personal lives, it’s clear that people want to do meaningful work and want to do well by their employers. It’s the employer’s responsibility not only to provide workers with the tools, processes, and resources to optimize their time at work, but also to empower employees to best manage work-life harmony with clear and specific time-off policies, creative and self-service scheduling solutions, benefits to help relax and refuel, and, above all, open communication between the company, employees, and their people managers to ensure time while working is time well spent.”

Dan Schawbel, best-selling author and research director, Future Workplace
“Workers worldwide clearly see the benefit to stay relevant in their jobs by investing time in training, yet also desire more time with their family, to travel, and get fit. Instead of trying to have a balanced lifestyle, which is especially difficult in today’s highly connected, technology-driven world, workers should seek integration, ensuring they allocate time to their biggest professional and personal priorities each day. There’s more of a need today to work smarter and be more efficient to free up time to invest in things that matter most, inside and outside of work.”

Supporting Resources

  • See part one of the ‘more time’ series, “The Case for a 4-Day Workweek?”
  • Kronos CEO Aron Ain shares how to transform employee engagement into a growth strategy in his new book, “WorkInspired: How to Build an Organization Where Everyone Loves to Work,” which includes a chapter titled, “Give Employees Their Time Back.
  • See more research from The Workforce Institute at Kronos, including the recent “Working Your Way” study, which found that organizations often undermine their own employee experience around work-life harmony when it comes to time off, productivity, and workload.
  • Subscribe to follow The Workforce Institute at Kronos for insight, research, blogs, and podcasts on how organizations can manage today’s modern workforce to drive engagement and performance.
    Connect with Kronos via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.




About The Workforce Institute at Kronos
The Workforce Institute at Kronos provides research and education on critical workplace issues facing organizations around the globe. By bringing together thought leaders, The Workforce Institute at Kronos is uniquely positioned to empower organizations with the knowledge and information they need to manage their workforce effectively and provide a voice for employees on important workplace issues. A hallmark of The Workforce Institute’s research is balancing the needs and desires of diverse employee populations with the needs of organizations. For additional information, visit
About Kronos Incorporated
Kronos is a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. Kronos industry-centric workforce applications are purpose-built for businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and government agencies of all sizes. Tens of thousands of organizations — including half of the Fortune 1000® — and more than 40 million people in over 100 countries use Kronos every day. Visit Kronos: Workforce Innovation That Works.
Footnote 1: The term “non-managing employees” or “individual contributors,” unless otherwise noted, refers to full- or part-time employees without any direct reports.
Footnote 2: Generations are defined as follows: Gen Z, born between 1994-2009; Millennials, born between 1982-1993; Gen X born between 1965-1981; and Baby Boomers, born between 1945-1964.