Why Work Life Balance Doesn’t Exist

The alternative to life is death, not work. We don’t talk about leisure / life balance, family / life balance, sleep / life balance or anything else / life balance so why work / life balance? Work is something we spend or don’t spend part of our lives doing. It is something we can do more or less of, either by choice or not but it is not an alternative to life it is part of life. That’s why work life balance doesn’t exist. Doing less work doesn’t give you more life it just gives you time to do other things in the same way that watching less television gives you more time read books but we don’t talk about TV / books balance.

What people are really talking about is work / non work balance.

My worry about talking about work / life balance is that it implies that work is something that is done outside of our lives. It is not something that is part of our lives to be enjoyed or despised in the same way as anything else. I hate decorating the house, but I don’t talk about my decorating / life balance.

One of the reasons so many people are suffering from anxiety, stress, depression etc is that a huge part of their lives is seen as being spent doing something that is separate from living, not part of it. This is only partly their fault. Some organisations are even encouraging this work / life attitude by telling their employees “It is important to get the balance right” and what they are actually saying is that the time employees spend working in their organisation is outside of living, so if you want to live more, work less. Then they wonder why they have a problem with things like quiet quitting and lack of engagement. If you basically tell people that every minute they spend working is a minute they don’t spend living then employers and organisations get all they deserve. Employees who feel that work is a waste of life.

Balance is the important thing in all areas of life and too little work is often as bad as too much. Also how do you define work? I had a go in this post What Constitutes Work?

It’s a pointless exercise. What we need to do it get our lives balanced. Good organisations and leaders within those organisations don’t try to get the work / life balance right for their staff instead they do their best to make work fulfilling and part of life. They help everyone to feel that what they do is effective and valued. Those organisations that get it right have enthusiastic and valuable employees who see work as part of their life, not separate from it. The rewards to everyone are huge. On the other hand, those organisations that treat work as separate from their employees’ lives and those who speak of work / life balance wonder why they struggle to get engagement.

To live an effective life, balance is vital in all things.

Most of us spend too high a proportion of our life working to treat it separately from living.

If you want to receive our regular blogs, please subscribe at Subscribe

Comments are closed.