These are the best—and worst—states for work-life balance

The skyline of Salt Lake City, Utah
Darwin Fan | Moment | Getty Images

The Covid-19 pandemic has increasingly blurred the lines between our personal and professional lives as millions of Americans continue to work from home on a semi-permanent basis.

But your ability to strike the perfect work-life balance — aside from the strains of the pandemic — may partially depend on your zip code.

A new analysis by Lensa, a job search platform, has identified the best states for achieving work-life balance and the states where employees are most at risk of suffering burnout.

Lensa analyzed data for all 50 states, comparing factors like the average hours employees work each year and the work-life balance review scores on Glassdoor of major companies in each.

Topping the list is Utah, which has the shortest average work week (37.3 hours) as well as above-average scores on companies' work-life balance and Gallup's well-being index, which measures Americans' financial security, physical health and social relationships, among other factors.

The top 10 states for work-life balance, according to Lensa:

1.  Utah 

2. Vermont

3. Montana

4. Wyoming 

5. Maine

6. Nebraska

7. North Dakota

8. Delaware 

9.  Iowa 

10. Hawaii 

"Utah may seem a bit off the radar," Brad Goodwin, Lensa's chief content strategist, tells CNBC Make It. "But it's got a ton of natural beauty that pulls people away from their desks and outside, plus people there report being happier at their jobs than other places."

Salt Lake City, the state's capital, has consistently ranked the #1 city in the United States to prioritize work-life balance for its low cost of living and cultural emphasis on wellness.

Vermont came in second with an average of 37.4-hour work week and strong score on Gallup's well-being index. Rounding out the top three is Montana, with a short average work week (38.4 hours) and a high companies rating on Glassdoor (3.7).

"All of these states promote social programs, and some, like Vermont and Maine, have fairly liberal cultures that emphasize individualism outside of work...but all of them have beautiful landscapes," Goodwin explains. "Whether it's mountains or forest, that definitely has a powerful effect on how people feel about their lives."

Other states struggle to achieve work-life harmony, putting employees at high risk of burnout, according to the report. 

Tennessee ranked as the worst state for work-life balance, the analysis found, due to long working hours and a poor score on Gallup's well-being index, followed by Maryland and West Virginia.

The 10 states with the worst work-life balance, according to Lensa:

1. Tennessee 

2. Maryland

3. West Virginia

4. Arkansas

5. Illinois

6. New York

7. Kentucky

8. Oklahoma

9. Texas

10. North Carolina 

It's important to note that many of the states that rank lower for work-life balance in Lensa's analysis have a higher proportion of blue collar jobs, career coach Susan Peppercorn says, which tend to have longer commutes and working hours. "If you're working in a coal mine or a factory, you don't have much control over how many hours you're going to work," she says. "That can be really hard." 

Still, Peppercorn adds, job seekers shouldn't get hung up on where their state falls in this list — and one ranking shouldn't be a determining factor in where they work. "It really comes down to the culture of that organization and whether it's aligned with your goals," she says. "If the cost of living is reasonable and the organization seems like a good fit for you, don't let the ranking put you off."

Check out: These are the U.S. cities where managers are most—and least—likely to embrace hybrid work

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Why working from home is here to stay
Why working from home is here to stay