We’ve got it wrong about work/life balance

Bet that got your attention so you deserve an explanation.

A large FTSE 100 bank here in the UK has a policy for managers above a certain paygrade. They must be within 20 minutes of email every day of the week during waking hours. They’re allowed to sleep. Now the paygrade is rather eye watering, so it would be interesting to elicit whether these managers actually enjoy their job or their salary or both.

I doubt it and I know some of them complain about a lack of work life balance, it was one who reported the policy to the press.

A work life balance is only an issue if you don’t like your job. If you like what you do, then it’s not an issue. I’m not saying you work all the hours, I’m saying you don’t make it a major issue.

Earlier this year, I travelled to Bangladesh on business and spent pretty much all day Sunday travelling – over 24 hours. I love my work, so it wasn’t an issue. I will take a day off in lieu though and did so today by the pool in my hotel.

Demarcation of work and life began in the Industrial Revolution and continued after the war with the rise of offices in the 1950’s for the knowledge worker. The issue began with long office working hours impinging on home life but the problem now is the internet allowing us to continue working on our commute and at home on our devices.

Presently the blur between the two is being desired by those who appreciate the flexibility it gives them. I took an Uber car in London last month and the driver loved the freedom it gave him to see his children during the day. Reports of the legions of contractors, out-sourcers, the gig economy share how the elasticity suits them.

My messsge? Let’s move on, the world is changing, let’s let go of this holy grail, after all if you worry about work life balance, if it gets you down, if you’re being asked to pick up emails at night and not be rewarded in some way, you may well not like your job.

Ow, here come the Twitter Trolls…