The case for work life balance

Nor will the fact that they juggle with greater workloads and competing priorities the longer they stay in accountancy (see our career survey on page 20). As in other sectors, we’re seeing accountants starting to doubt whether they should stay in the same job for long.

Meanwhile, the work-life balance lobby grows more audible. Our priorities, it tells us (as if we didn’t know), should no longer be to work 40, 50 or even 60-plus-hour weeks in the interests of finishing reports or meeting ever more onerous deadlines, but to weigh up the rewards that come from hard work against the rewards that come from having a life outside work.

All fine words, but individuals operating under time pressure with over-zealous managers pursuing ambitious targets, are unlikely to be able to benefit from well-meaning employee-friendly policies.

The English ICA’s president Graham Ward has just put his weight behind a new discussion document on human capital. Ward is urging board directors to quantify the value of their employees and create learning cultures to cultivate and presumably keep them.

No one expects immediate results. But an important step has been taken.

Accountants are in the business of persuading others by presenting them with a financial case for action. Ward has publicly made the argument a commercial one and therefore the one that’s more likely to succeed.

Careers focus

Benefits – Are you getting enough?

The work-life balance

How do you see yourself?

Skills and barriers: Are you equipped for your job?

No longer a job for life

Long hours are the norm

FDs want early retirement

Leader – The case for work life balance

The millionaires’ club

Career focus: The valley of dreams

Related reading