Does the Perfect Work-Life Balance Exist?

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Is the concept of the perfect work-life balance purely wishful thinking or is it tangible dream?

  • Some see a healthy work-life balance as a privilege entitled employees need to be gifted in order to be retained, some as an essential ingredient in a life well-lived, or another word for success.
  • Trying to achieve an optimal work-life balance is far from a lifestyle fad: A WHO study found that working more than 55 hours a week resulted in 745,000 deaths in 2016, up from 590,000 in 2000.
  • And while work-related stress is being recognised as a growing health issue, employers and governments have also grasped it is an economic problem as stress-related absences​​ in the workplace rise.
  • Studies have demonstrated that productivity reduces dramatically when too many hours are worked, the four-day work week is a much-mooted concept that various countries have an appetite to explore.
  • But despite buzz phrases such as "working smarter, not longer" seemingly taking the corporate world by storm, many people’s hopes for a healthier work-life balance are yet to materialise.
  • The pandemic seems to have obliterated hopes for something resembling a work-life balance for many: a study found remote working has led to longer work days and lower employee well-being.
  • Aspects such as age, gender and class background can put a good work-life balance further out of people’s reach, as the understanding of what constitutes a decent work-life balance varies.
  • But overall, a healthy way of working is more important to people than ever in the developed world: for Americans on the job hunt, a better work-life balance is now a bigger motivator than pay.
The Guardian
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5 articles on this topic


Why it's wrong to look at work-life balance as an achievement

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The Guardian

Home workers putting in more hours since Covid, research shows

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Here's how much money workers would give up for better work-life balance

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Four-day work week: A mixed success

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Work/Life Balance Is A Privilege Lots Of Women Can't Afford & We Shouldn't Forget That

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