The goal of achieving a work life balance has been a common thread through many blog posts. On 13th June Padraig Belton (Technology of Business reporter) published an interesting article on the BBC News website discussing whether technology is making people more stressed.
‘The Quality of Working Life 2016 report from the Chartered Management Institute earlier this year found that this obsession with checking emails outside of work hours is making it difficult for many of us to switch off.’
Could now be the time to try and find that balance?
The importance of a work-life balance is highlighted by Bryan Gaensler (Director, Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto) in an article from 13th July 2015 in The Conversation. This is an excellent article and well worth reading…..
‘Science demands a lot of its disciples, so scientists should take control, not be controlled. Young researchers should determine how, where and when they work best, should set themselves rules, and then should try to stick to them. Ever since my time as a postdoc at MIT, I aim to walk out the door by 5 or 6 every night, I try not to answer emails on weekends and I take my allotted vacation time. Just as heads and directors are expected to be exemplars in our research, we must lead by example in work–life balance.’
What do you think? Does the competitive culture of working long hours exist here? Do you have a work-life balance? How can this be improved? Should we all be more open about taking holidays and not working weekends?
What time do you think it’s safe for me to leave work?
Katie Hope (Business reporter for the BBC) has published a feature based on interviews with different business leaders examining issues around discussing work life balance. While not focused on academia many of the comments still apply!
‘Research suggests that advances in technology giving employees the ability to check their work emails 24 hours a day have made it even harder for people to separate work and life. Management consultancy Deloitte’s global survey of 2,500 business leaders found two thirds of employees were feeling “overwhelmed” with 80% wanting to work fewer hours.’
‘Yet for those at the top, admitting they need a break can be perceived as a weakness………..’ This doesn’t necessarily just apply to those at the top!
‘John Mackey, co-founder and co-chief executive of supermarket chain Whole Foods says in the US a “workaholic” culture means people often boast about how long they work, seeing 80-hour weeks as a badge of honour. He admits he himself has worked such long hours, but says it’s not sustainable in the long term. In an effort to reduce the workload of being the boss, he divides the top role with co-chief executive Walter Robb, and they are part of a seven-strong executive team which all earn the same salary and share executive responsibilities. “Walter and I may be the leaders of that group but we all are working together,” he says. This approach continues throughout the firm, with individual stores having control over budgets and staff having the power to make decisions. This structure, gives him time, to meditate, exercise and eat well, he says.
Follow this lead to read more – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-33137432
Published on the 8th June on the BBC News website, Abigail Simmons explores the balance between academic success and working excessive hours. ‘Students who show “grit” in their character do not push themselves at all costs, say researchers. A study rejects the idea that such determination is linked to extreme behaviour, such as missing out on sleep or working excessive hours. Four thousand teenagers took part in the research project by Wellington College and Harvard Graduate School of Education’ –
‘Neuroscientist Christina Hinton, a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, says: “Our results suggest that grit does not require pushing yourself at all costs, but rather cultivating healthy emotional regulation skills and effective learning strategies.”
How easy is it to have a work life balance? Do your colleagues/role models do this?