Workers Cite Advantages of Desk, Nondesk Jobs

CHICAGO -- More than three of four workers in desk jobs and nondesk jobs are equally likely to report being happy in their roles, a survey conducted by Harris Poll in behalf of CareerBuilder finds. But workers in desk jobs are more likely to report complaints about their work environment.

Many workers in desk jobs said their positions enable them to stay in the loop and build closer relationships with company leaders and peers while workers in nondesk jobs said their positions give them greater variety and flexibility in their workday, the survey discovered. Some 38% of workers in nondesk jobs said they had no complaints about their work environment compared to 14% of workers in desk jobs.

Workers in desk jobs were more likely to report being overweight, with 58% of workers in desk jobs categorize themselves as such compared to 51% of those in nondesk jobs. Also, 46% of workers in desk jobs have gained weight in their current position compared to 30% in nondesk jobs.

People who work in desk jobs reported earning higher salaries and felt more content with their paychecks. Those working in desk jobs were twice as likely to earn six figures annually while those working in nondesk jobs were twice as likely to earn less than $35,000.

Half of workers in desk jobs earn $50,000 or more compared to one-third of workers in nondesk jobs, and 71% of desk-job workers said that they earn or are close to earning their desired salary compared to 61% of workers in nondesk jobs.

In terms of salary, 40% of respondents in nondesk jobs earn less than $35,000 annually compared with 20% of workers in desk jobs while 50% of desk-job workers earn $50,000 or more versus 32% of those in nondesk jobs. Among those earning $100,000 or more, 13% have desk jobs and 7% are in nondesk jobs.

Employees were equally likely to experience high stress levels at work (30% and 29%, respectively), but workers in nondesk jobs had a somewhat higher tendency toward burnout. Fully 61% of workers in nondesk jobs said they have felt burned out compared to 57% of those with desk jobs.

"Everyone has a different definition of the ideal work experience," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder in a prepared statement. "For some, it's being in the thick of the action in the office. For others, it's the flexibility of not working behind a desk. There are advantages and disadvantages to both scenarios. With any job, it's important to find a work environment that is suited to your work style and interests and where you can thrive."

When asked to identify some of the perks of their work environment, workers in desk jobs pointed to:

  • Access to technology/Internet: 72%.
  • Having a job not physically demanding: 60%.
  • Having a routine: 59%.
  • Ability to communicate with company leaders and peers more easily: 33%.
  • Opportunity to build closer relationships with company leaders and peers: 25%.
  • Ability to stay in the loop on new developments in the company: 22%.

When asked to identify shortcomings of their work environment, workers in desk jobs cited:

  • Not enough physical activity: 56%.
  • Staring at a computer screen most of the day: 56%.
  • Stuck inside most of the day: 51%.
  • Doing the same work every day, insufficient variety: 24%.
  • More distractions/disruptions from co-workers: 23%.

When asked to identify some of the perks of their work environment, workers in nondesk jobs pointed to:

  • Ability to stay more physically active: 68%.
  • Variety in their workday: 54%.
  • Not being stuck in front of a computer all day: 51%.
  • Having more flexibility: 41%.
  • Not having to get dressed up to go to work: 39%.
  • Not having to deal with office politics: 33%.

When asked to identify shortcomings, workers in nondesk jobs cited:

  • Exhausted from working on my feet all day: 35%.
  • More prone to injury or illness: 24%.
  • Less recognition for my efforts: 17%.
  • Not as informed about new developments within the company: 15%.
  • Less chance for promotion: 11%.
  • Less face-to-face interaction with leaders and peers: 9%.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
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