The myth of work-life balance

Work-life balance has been a buzzword for at least the last decade. This week on The Pete the Planner Radio Show, Paul Ashley of First Person Advisors and I do some myth-busting. Listen to the clip below courtesy of 93 WIBC:

Work-life balance or work-life integration is something you hear often. The main idea is your work and home life are equally important, yet totally separate. Right out of the gate Paul thinks this is impossible by definition. The attempt to balance two unequal things like work and home life is just going to set you up for failure. Most people would choose their home life over their work life as often as possible. This doesn’t mean they will shirk work duties, but they will be more creative in finding time to be with family while still honoring their work commitments. It’s a grey area that blends responsibility and desire.

How did we get to a place where our work and home lives are so intertwined? The most obvious answer is technology. But the second answer is the leadership of your employer. Personally as an employer my stance is that family life comes first and work comes second. But I still email my employees on the weekend. I feel bad about it and I don’t expect a reply, but I’m still putting work out there on their personal time. Paul suggested that sending emails on the weekend or really late at night isn’t necessarily a bad things as long as the expectation is set from the beginning. Not everyone works during traditional hours, but as a leader if you inform your employees that you like to work on the weekends and don’t expect them to, they can maintain their free time.

Then there is the 8-8-8 model. Eight hours at work, eight hours of free time, and eight hours of sleep. I’m not sure if this is doable, at least not all the time, but it’s a nice goal to work toward.

What are your thoughts? I’d like to believe in a work-life balance, do you?

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