Work–life balance

Work–life balance

Read what four people have to say about their working hours to practise and improve your reading skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and do the exercises.


Reading text


I work in a fairly traditional office environment doing a typical nine-to-five job. I like my job, but it's annoying that my commute to work takes an hour and a half each way and most of my work could really be done online from home. But my boss doesn't seem to trust that we will get any work done if left to our own devices, and everyone in the company has to clock in and out every day. It's frustrating that they feel the need to monitor what we do so closely instead of judging us based on our task performance, like most companies do these days.


I used to do a typical five-day week, but after I came out of my parental leave, I decided that I wanted to spend more time with my children before they start school. After negotiating with my boss, we decided to cut my working week down to a three-day work week. This of course meant a significant cut in my pay too, as I'm paid on a pro-rata basis. I've since noticed, though, that my workload hasn't decreased in the slightest! I'm now doing five days' worth of work in three days, but getting paid much less for it! I find myself having to take work home just so that I can meet the deadlines. It's wearing me out trying to juggle work with looking after my children and my family, but I don’t dare to bring this up with my boss because I think he feels as if he's made a huge concession letting me come in only three days a week.


I work for a global IT company, but because their headquarters is in the States, I do all my work online from home. That means that I don't waste time commuting or making idle chit-chat with colleagues. I work on a project basis, and this flexibility is very valuable to me because it means that I can easily take some time off when my children need me to go to their school performances or if I need to schedule an appointment with the dentist. The downside is that without clear office hours, I tend to work well into the evening, sometimes skipping dinner to finish a task. It can also get quite lonely working on my own, and I sometimes miss sharing ideas with colleagues.


I'm a freelancer and work for myself. This is great because I am in control of what I do and how I spend my time. At first, I was working from home, but I found it really hard to concentrate. There were just too many distractions around: housework that needed doing, another cup of tea, my family members wanting my attention for various things. So I started to go to a nearby café to work, but the Wi-Fi connection wasn't ideal and I found myself drinking too much coffee. In the end, I decided to rent a desk in a co-working space with five other freelancers like myself. I liked getting dressed to go to work in the morning and being able to focus in an office environment. The other freelancers do similar kinds of web-based work to me and so it's nice to have workmates to bounce ideas off as well.

Task 1

Task 2


Worksheet126.35 KB

Language level

Average: 4.5 (43 votes)
Profile picture for user amit_ck

Submitted by amit_ck on Wed, 24/04/2019 - 17:10

There have a lot of “Idle” meanings in online but I don't get it which one will be appropriate for these sentences. Could you please help me? 1) That means that I don't waste time commuting or making IDLE chit-chat with colleagues. 2) We have not been IDLE in the field of sport. We have already had two swimming matches, one against the students of the Technical College and the other against the University medial students.
Hello amit_ck If you look at the definitions of 'idle' in the Cambridge Dictionary (, the meaning is sentence 1 is 'no purpose - without any particular purpose' and the meaning in sentence 2 is 'lazy - lazy and not willing to work'. All the best Kirk The LearnEnglish Team
Profile picture for user Rafaela1

Submitted by Rafaela1 on Thu, 04/04/2019 - 12:44

A recreation help get a work done efficiently. ୧(๑•̀ɜ•́๑)૭✧

Submitted by rakhat.raimbekova on Wed, 27/02/2019 - 10:07

good exercise
Profile picture for user Samer.Zydia

Submitted by Samer.Zydia on Mon, 25/02/2019 - 13:35

I found it very useful