The American Work-Life Balance Index

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The American Work-Life Balance Index

Which states around the US strike the perfect balance between their home and office lives?

Getting the balance between work and your home life is becoming increasingly difficult, especially with the lines between the two becoming blurred in the last 18 months or so, with many of us being forced to work from home.

With work only ever an email or text away from our fingertips, it can be hard to switch off from our jobs, but failing to do so can be dangerous not just for your productivity, but also your mental health.

But how does the average work-life balance differ around the United States? We’ve analyzed each state on the average amount of hours they spend working and commuting, their well-being, and how major companies in the state rated for work-life balance on Glassdoor, to find out.

The states with the best work-life balance

1. Utah – 9.12 out of 10

Average weekly hours worked: 37.3 hours

Average commute time: 22.5 minutes

Glassdoor work-life balance review score: 4.03 out of 5

Well-Being Index rank: 5th

Taking the top spot as the state where residents enjoy the best split between their work and home lives is the Beehive State: Utah.

Utah scored highly on all four of the metrics that we studied, with the second-highest average work-life balance rating on Glassdoor and the lowest average working hours in the country.

In 2008, Utah trialled a four-day workweek, and while this practice only lasted until 2011, some businesses choose to carry it on and the culture of alternative working patterns has clearly stuck around to some extent!

2. Vermont – 8.43 out of 10

Average weekly hours worked: 37.4 hours

Average commute time: 24 minutes

Well-Being Index rank: 7th

Vermont is known for its natural landscape and forests and it seems like the residents get to spend plenty of time out enjoying the Green Mountain State.

Vermont had the second-lowest working hours in the country, narrowly behind the overall winner Utah and also came in an impressive 7th place on Gallup’s Well-Being Index.

3. Montana – 8.23 out of 10

Average weekly hours worked: 38.4 hours

Average commute time: 19.5 minutes

Glassdoor work-life balance review score: 3.7 out of 5

Well-Being Index rank: 4th

Another state that’s known for its natural beauty takes third place, with Montana stretching from the snow-capped Rocky Mountains to the vast open spaces of the Great Plains.

It’s also a great place to live and work, taking 4th place on Gallups’s Well-Being Index and with a nice short commute time of under 20 minutes, meaning that Montanans have more time at home to enjoy that beautiful state that they call home!

Notably, with Montana taking third place, each of the top three states for work-life balance were in natural beauty hotspots, which can surely be no coincidence as to why they have such great work-life balances.

The states most at risk of suffering burnout

1. Tennessee – 4.03 out of 10

Average weekly hours worked: 39.3 hours

Average commute time: 25.9 minutes

Glassdoor work-life balance review score: 3.32 out of 5

Well-Being Index rank: 46th

However, not all states have quite cracked the work-life balance, with Tennessee finding itself at the bottom of our rankings.

Tennessee scored particularly badly when it came to the well-being of its residents, taking 46th place out of 50 states on Gallup’s index, and also scored just 3.32 out of 5 for work-life balance when it comes to the major companies in the states according to Glassdoor.

Some of the big businesses headquartered in Tennessee that reported a poor work-life balance include Dollar General (2.4), AutoZone (2.8) and Brookdale Senior Living (2.8).

2. Maryland – 4.14 out of 10

Average weekly hours worked: 38.8 hours

Average commute time: 33.7 minutes

Glassdoor work-life balance review score: 3.44 out of 5

Well-Being Index rank: 32nd

Maryland also ranked poorly when it comes to work-life balance, specifically when it comes to the state’s longer than average commute time, with the average person spending 33.7 minutes getting into work, longer than everywhere except New York.

3. West Virginia – 4.21 out of 10

Average weekly hours worked: 39.3 hours

Average commute time: 26.4 minutes

Glassdoor work-life balance review score: 3.5 out of 5

Well-Being Index rank: 50th

As well as being geographical neighbors, West Virginia also came just behind Maryland in the rankings as one of the worst states for work-life balance.

West Virginia was the worst ranking state on Gallup’s Well-Being Index and also scored relatively badly on the other three ranking factors too!

The state with the lowest working hours:

Utah – 37.3 hours per week

While the standard workweek is usually around 40 hours, in Utah the actual average hours that people work in a week is just 37.3.

Over the course of a year, those minutes start to add up and it all means extra time for residents to spend with their families, pursuing hobbies or just chilling out!

The states with the lowest commute time:

North & South Dakota –  17.9 minutes

The neighboring states of North and South Dakota happen to share the lowest commuting times in the country, with the average person taking 17.9 minutes to get into work.

Again, this is really important as even though you’re not being paid for it, your commute eats into your free time, especially if you look across a whole month or year.

The state with the best work-life balance review score:

Maine – 4.05 out of 5

Glassdoor is a site that allows workers to leave reviews for their employers, so we took a look at the average scores when it comes to work-life balance for the biggest employers in each state and it was Maine which scored the highest here with a score of 4.05 out of 5.

The state with the best well-being:

Hawaii – 1st

Moving slightly away from work itself, we also wanted to see which states generally had the best well-being, which is what Gallup’s Well-Being Index shows.

The island state of Hawaii has actually topped the ratings when it comes to well-being for seven years in a row, taking into account factors covering career, social life, finances, community, and health.


We ranked each state in the US on the following four factors, giving each a normalized score out of 10 for each, before taking an average work-life balance score across all four. 

(Note that Glassdoor data was not available for Vermont, Wyoming, Hawaii, and Alaska, so the final score for these states was calculated from the remaining three factors.)

Average weekly hours worked

The mean usual hours worked in the past 12 months for workers 16 to 64 years according to the United States Census Bureau.

Average commute time

The mean travel time to work in minutes according to the United States Census Bureau.

Average Glassdoor work-life balance review score

The average work-life balance review score of companies based in each state on Glassdoor, using a sample of 1,800 companies.

Well-Being Index rank

The state’s rank on Gallup’s Well-Being Index.

Lensa Insights
Lensa Insights
Work is changing faster than an angry retrovirus. For jobseekers, that means one thing: adapt or die! Lensa Insights is your survival guide, offering actionable career tips to keep your future in focus.

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