What does the work-life balance of a Software Engineer look like?

We compare the work-life balance of FAANG employees at Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft comparing their vacation, remote work policy as well as openness to side projects.

Phil from 4 day week
14 min readSep 12, 2021


According to a recent survey, 52% of people have felt burn-out at work during COVID. It’s important try to achieve a good work-life balance; something many of us have lacked during lockdown.

“We’re not working from home, we’re sleeping in the office.”

Fortunately attitudes to work-life balance have been improving in Europe over the last 50 years, where the number of hours worked by each person on average has decreased from ~1,000hrs in 1960 to ~700 in 2010.

The average number of hours worked per capita over time

For the rest of the world however, the average number of hours worked per person has continued to increase, with some of the sharpest rises seen in the USA. For example, in 1960 the average American worked around 700 hours per year, rosing to 840 in 2010.

A 4 day work week offers some hope however, where interest has grown steadily over the past 10 years, reflected in search volume data from Google trends. More companies than ever now offer a 4 day work week, predominately benefited by those who have skills which are heavily in demand (i.e. software engineers).

4 day work week interest over time

Despite this, the vast majority of companies still work 9–5, five days per week. So instead analysing the number of hours worked by engineers, what does the work-life balance look like for a software engineer?

A Comparison of Work-Life balance at FAANG Companies

Glassdoor reviews ask employees to rate their work-life balance on a scale from 0 to 5. We filtered these reviews to include software engineers only.

Here are the results:

  1. Google: 4.4 (best)
  2. Microsoft: 4.3
  3. Apple: 4.0
  4. Facebook: 3.5



Phil from 4 day week

Founder @ 4dayweek.io - jobs with a better work / life balance.