Does Work Life Balance work?
Do they make any difference? Are we all working more now than six years ago?
Many people are generally working or travelling for 14 out of 24 hours. Take out 8 hours for sleeping and this means 2 hours a day left for cooking, washing, eating, seeing friends etc. So the week ends are generally a mad catch up. RecruitIreland report 65% of people fail to take their full leave.
I’ve also talked to clients trying to recruit for shift work jobs and experiencing serious difficulty because “Irish people don’t seem to want shift work”.
So like everything else there’s no one true picture. Some people appear to have balance and others don’t.
In some areas “lunch is definitely for wimps”. It appears the more status your job role has or the more well paid you are the more hours you work. For example doctors regularly work 80 hours a week. Yet we only allow lorry drivers to work 55 hours a week and we put a tachograph on them to monitor this.
The numerous life style articles about top management executives who are always in at 7.30am and leave again around 7.30pm. But they “always keep week ends free for family”. Yet the legislation states an average of 48 working hours is a maximum.
The best manager I ever worked with was occasionally in before 9am, went home for lunch and was only seen in the office after 5pm in a real crisis. When he retired longer and longer hours became the norm. One of the reasons I left was when a short week became 55 hours with frequent seventy hour weeks.
Yes, there are times long hours are required but on an ongoing basis I know from personal experience they get less and less productive. Our politicians work very long hours yet we don’t seem to have much vision and planning here.
Stephen Covey believes effective people have balance in their lives spending time in all four key dimensions Physical, Spiritual, Mental and Social. Yet so much of Irish culture does not facilitate this approach.
Ricardo Sempler runs his company in a very unusual way. He firmly believes in work life balance yet his company has expanded greatly. So it is possible to succeed in corporate life without the long hours. (His book “The 7 day weekend” is worth reading).
However as "fish rots from the head" I think we’ll need our work life balance days for a while. Maybe a new election slogan for the politicians
Step into the light with tachograph
Click below for some ideas on implementing work life balance
work life balance