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.


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Average: 4.3 (30 votes)
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Submitted by JiyadUllah on Sat, 02/12/2023 - 05:07


Thank you for providing such helpful tips and practiced exercises.

Hi JiyadUllah,

You're very welcome. We are pleased to hear that you found them useful!


LearnEnglish team

Submitted by jmajo on Wed, 25/10/2023 - 15:03


Well, one advantage is working in a good enviroment with young people working most of the time in a good mood, but that sometimes tend to lead into unnecesary distractios like listen loud music or little long Idle chit-chat, I suppose If I could change something, I wouldn’t dare do more working from home like 2 or 3 times a week, because like Ronan,
I think a lot of my work could be done online from home. Although I go to work by riding my bicycle, I spent more than 90 minutes a day commuting between home and work and in the end of the day that’s a lot of time.

Thanks for the lesson.
Great site!

Submitted by betelf on Tue, 24/10/2023 - 18:57


There were no advantages in my working situation, so I quit. As anyone would expect, there were many disadvantages, such as long working hours, lack of breaks, insults from patients both physically and verbally, low salary, and the list goes on. I couldn't change any of these, so I decided to change my career.

Submitted by Ms.Khin on Wed, 27/09/2023 - 15:55


I’m an Software Engineer and I work a typical 9 to 5 job just like most people do. I prefer going to the office as I think it’s easier communicate about work and get to know my coworkers. To be honest working at the office, I can even save on both electricity bills and water bills. I used to live 10 mins drive away from the office but then when I took into account transportation costs and time consuming, then I decided to move nearby office which is only 10 mins walk to the office now. Not only do I get a chance to walk to the office but also I pass through the park on the way where I can see the trees, breath fresh air and avoid traffic and also avoid road accidents. As a person who like to work in an office environment, I made the decision to move to a condo/place nearby the office.

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Submitted by Ramiro Solana on Wed, 16/08/2023 - 16:49


Since the pandemic, I started working 3 days at home and 2 at the office. That gives me the opportunity to avoid spending too much of the week commuting, since I live 1.5 hours from work. However, I work more hours a day at home than at the office, so I don't have more free time to spend with my family. But it does give me the opportunity to better balance my schedule with my personal needs, like going to the doctor, playing a tennis match or going to run during the day.

Submitted by lbcko on Sat, 03/06/2023 - 20:13


I work in a traditional working enviroment. We can not work from home so it is big disadvantage for me. I like going to the office, but I would prefer to work from home two days a week. The main advantage for me is that I have great team. It is very important to me.

Submitted by nazaninmjd on Sun, 30/04/2023 - 22:54


I am nutritionists and I am working online from home. This is great because I could separate time to my 2 years old son also doing my houseworks. The downside is that there is no me time at all!
Just doing work or being mother! Also working from home is very boring and there is too much distraction!

Submitted by Fit Lemon on Thu, 09/03/2023 - 09:29


The reason of my learning English is switching my job. I liked it before. But now I can not see the future for the following reasons. I work at Oil and Gas Company as a Lead Control Systems Engineer. My work schedule is shift. I commute to the work by a train or plain once in a month. I'm working at work for 15 days in a row. After my working shift I came back for home also by train or plain, and this journey is wearing me out besides the work. At first two days at home I feel myself exhausted. I try to spend my time with my family, because I have nto seen them for 15 days. I have 14 days for resting. And I'm done with this work-life balance. I decided to switch my job, and started to learning Programming and English. My goal is relocating to Big Software Company and make amazing Software Products, and that time having pretty enough time to spend my time with my family.