PracticeConsultingIt’s time to redress the balance

It's time to redress the balance

The work-life balance. Chew it over - it's a nice sounding phrase. But what does it mean in practice? Stick to a 40-hour week but fail to get your work done?

Work so hard and fast during your 40 hours that any notion of planning goes out of the window? Or rationalise your private life so that it fits round how ever many hours you have to put in at the office?

Hopefully it means none of these. But it’s hard not to be cynical when businesses of all shapes and sizes seek to squeeze maximum returns out of their headcount.

Now, however, some organisations are seeking to do something about the balance. PricwaterhouseCoopers partners, for instance, are sending themselves and their staff on stress-busting courses. Meanwhile 22 blue-chip businesses – including PwC – have signed up to a prime ministerial initiative to redress the balance. An expectant father, Blair is of course facing his own demands in this area.But this initiative requires much more than a handful of signatures if it is to achieve anything useful.

Little will change until nothing less than a massive cultural shift is effected in a country where work is placed very much at the centre of life and, at the same time, held up as the benchmark of success.

Initiatives like this are often the start of those of those shifts. But it will require vigilentself-policing by employers and employees if any change is to be permanent.

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