Work/Life Balance – the ‘weekend conundrum’

Christine-Richard right sizeOn the one hand, working hard from Monday to Friday is almost universally regarded by politicians and ‘so-called pundits’ as the value placed on individuals as people who contribute to a successful economy and, at the same time, achieve the elusive Work/Life balance also promulgated as essential! The conundrum is represented by the extensive, practically universal comment in all forms of the media is that the majority of people who ‘go out to work’ from Monday to Friday for at least 48 weeks of the calendar year tolerate this arrangement in order to reach the sanctuary of the ‘weekend’!

Although the going out to work may still be necessary for some occupations which require manufacturing, machinery, and other forms of physical activity which need to be carried out on site, more flexible days and hours of working for everyone are better and healthier for the well-being of individuals, the economy and the country. Shift working already is a major feature of working patterns but not nearly sufficiently robust to continue to be the only way of work in our now currently fully-wired world. There are, advantages and less benevolent aspects to this where instant news coverage, social media and the ability to engaged electronically at any time, day or night and for instant coverage of activities both good and evil as they happen.

Slowly recognition is dawning and many people, including me and people, families, organisation and successful influencers in the world agree the old concept is so outdated and many highly successful organisations in all sectors can demonste the value of flexible working hours, whether in or out of a physical working environment (eg working from a home base) demonstrating trust and value with bonus payments where deserved and almost invariably demonstrably visible when the flexible working about which I have these very strong view, will go a very long way to achieving successes.

Because of the instant world communication as we see, so recently and tragically demonstrated by evil and deadly attacks on countries and loss of life these are, indeed, dangerous times in which we live. These issues are unlikely to change or go away quickly. As I have been revising this article I cannot be the only individual to see that LIVE spells, if the letters are reversed EVIL!

In summary, and idealistically I want to see an inclusive world, where commerce, public service, individual pride and integrity in work, healthy and accountable taxation regimes, pensions and health care are the norm. Yes if this idealism combined with ambition and compassion, good accessible education from early years onwards throughout the world may eventually triumph.

No individual, regime or way of life is perfect but as Norman Vincent Peale, an American author wrote about ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’ (the title of his book which I chose many years ago as a school prize) if we hold to this concept to make the world a better place it is at least a stride along the way. So far in my own life – which has not been always easy nor privileged I have tried to use his advice for good. This was an author who clearly practised what he preached and lived until he was 94 years of age.

Comments whether in agreement or dissent are most welcome as far as I am concerned!

Christine Richard, OBE, FRSA,TQFE
November 2015

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