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


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Language level

Average: 4.5 (43 votes)
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Submitted by Ehsan on Tue, 19/01/2021 - 09:36

My work has many advantages such as being close to home, suitable working conditions, good colleagues, and etc. Disadvantages included fixed working hours and low monthly salary.

Submitted by Liosha228 on Tue, 22/12/2020 - 14:44

I'd like this stories, thanks

I am still a high schooler though. However, to discuss, the working policy in my country is needed to be enhanced, such as the salary and working hour. I find that the typical employees do not earn enough - only $200 per month. The well paid work in other countries, of course engineers and medical doctors, typically get around $500 per month in my country. I assume that the rate of salary is very low but the working hours don't differ from other countries - from 9 to 5. The equal access or at least fair amount of salaries should be provided as there are many employees who are talented and enthusiastic out there to upgrade the country's GDP. To strongly agrue, it is not worth to work in like those countries and should migrate to other countries in order to gain better income and knowledge.

Submitted by Liosha228 on Tue, 22/12/2020 - 14:43

I am fine, thanks and you?
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Submitted by danisep on Wed, 09/12/2020 - 23:29

Working from home is an advantage, because it saves time and money taking long journeys to get early. It can use our time on our own way, take a break in the afternoon and go for a coffee, but also stay all day at home can be exhausting. stay all day in the same place without talking to anyone; sometimes an idle chit-chat is necessary. For example when it lives alone, talking to colleagues and getting appointments to drink or do something different to work is necessary too.

Submitted by Hop Nguyen on Fri, 20/11/2020 - 08:06

i am working in office building. So i either work, share my ideas with my colleagues or make idle chit-chat with friends next door sometimes. So i think it is fun and help my work more effective. But i must spend time driving from my home to my office, getting traffic jam everyday. I must spend my money on office clothes, shoes etc...

Submitted by cittàutopica on Wed, 18/11/2020 - 18:15

Ronan, Jo, Marcus and Lily have explained the advantages and disadvantages of the different working situation well. I think that many human resources managers, both in public and private sphere, are still reluctant to "smart working", that is means not only working at home or in other places different from the traditional office, but working autonomously and be judged based on own task performance.

Submitted by Máira Gazzola Arroyo on Tue, 10/11/2020 - 23:28

The advantages is that I´m letf to do my own devices and the majority of the collegues are very nice. My boss is very nice too, but sometimes he doesn´t have time to talk to me about the problems that I couldn´t find a solution. The disadvantages is that I have to work on Saturdays and there is a lot of things to do in a short time. I need a specialist in the area to guide me in the tasks and solve my doubts.

Submitted by Bimble on Tue, 03/11/2020 - 16:59

In this pandemic situation, I've been forced to work from home as a bunch of people. I am a dance teacher so it was quite stressful and hard to get used to this new way to work, because the touch is a very relevant aspect of teaching. Also, I am on an hourly basis paid job, but the amount of tasks to do increased significantly because of the recorded classes. Besides preparing the classes, I have to record, edit and post the videos, and it takes so much more time than before. In the other hand, I have the possibility to wake up a little bit later and somehow, It is a more flexible time. However, I definitely prefer to work at school, with a face to face teaching and interacting with other teachers. At least, I learned that the school is not made only by students and teachers, but several components that facilitate the learning process.