Post-Work Activities May Impact Job Satisfaction

Those who volunteer or log off the Internet after work are more likely to be happy with their jobs
A woman volunteers after work.

You may want to reconsider how you unwind when you log off at the end of the work day, as your after-work activities can impact how happy you are on the job.

Job search website SimplyHired surveyed 1,010 current employees to get some insight into how they relax during their off-hours and how well they disconnect from workplace demands. Not only did the research reveal that many employees have trouble disconnecting, but that certain post-work relaxation activities are more closely tied to job satisfaction than others.

Learning to relax after work may get easier with age, the survey suggests, as 58% of baby boomers said it was not at all difficult to transition from the workday to their home life. Comparatively, 48.6% of Gen Xers felt that way and only 36.2% of millennials found it easy to put the workday behind them.

Millennials also found it the hardest to stop thinking about work, as 71.3% of millennials had some level of difficulty getting the workplace off their minds compared with 66.9% of Gen Xers and 58% of boomers.

More than half of workers — 55.1% — also reported having less time to relax than they needed. Among survey respondents, the average amount of relaxation time workers have is 2.2 hours per day when they consider time that isn’t spent working, doing household chores or taking care of children.

So what do they do with those precious hours to relax? The overwhelming favorite relaxation activity was watching television, said by 80.8% of respondents. That was followed by 52.3% who said reading, 48.6% who said listening to music, 42% who said looking at social media, 41.8% who said exercising and 41.2% who said talking to a significant other.

However, the most common post-work relaxation activities weren’t the ones typically given by workers who have the highest job satisfaction. Happy workers tend to do certain types of activities after work, the survey found.

Volunteering was the relaxation activity cited by those with the most job satisfaction, though only 4.9% of respondents reported doing volunteer work. Other activities cited by those who are happiest in their jobs include talking to a roommate, playing cards after work, meditating and taking a break from the Internet.

The people who have the lowest job satisfaction were most likely to relax by drinking alcohol, playing video games, venting about the workday, napping and looking at social media.

Since many of us spend a lot of hours of our day at work, it’s important to think about how those hours — and the ones remaining — impact our well-being. Determining what you value most in your life could help you to discern whether your current job is meeting your needs. For example, many employees value their time over money and would take a pay cut for more control over their schedules.

Give yourself time to relax and focus on enjoyable activities outside of the workplace so you don’t feel overwhelmed and stressed. If you are finding it difficult to disconnect from work and you don’t think your employer would be open to you creating a better work-life balance, consider researching companies that employees rate highly to see if they have job openings that might be more suitable for you.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.

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