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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 maternity 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.



Nivel de idioma

Upper intermediate: B2


Some people say 'life-work balance" instead of "work-life balance". Which is which??

Hi Rafaela1

I think I've always seen or heard 'work-life' and that is what the Wikipedia has. I just did an internet search for both combinations and saw many more results for 'work-life', so I would recommend going with that form.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

I work reasonable flexible-ish hours at my job. I like it a lot but I would much prefer if I had my own desk. Sharing a desck with colleague especially when they move around a lot and are messy is driving me insane. I'm an introvert and it doesn't bother me being around people but not like that.

currently I'm an entrepreneur. But previously, I had worked in finance company particularly in cars financing. I really enjoyed this job. because, My boss gave me a trust when I was working. As a Marketing I didn't need an absent when in or out. But I must reached the target monthly without exception and than all of working process were doing well. And I alwasy reached the target. Even though I had a concession in working time I must respond it wisely so my boss would be trust to all my jobs.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of your working situation? What would you change if you could?
Granted my country's constitution doesn't allow underaged people to work, I have a gig as a musician in a independent musical group with which I don't necessarily have a established schedule to follow whenever I have perfomance. There are things I condemn though, which are, unfortunately, external factors in terms that are out of my reach. For instance, people usually schedule an specific time that they are not even ascertain about, which almost always means a waste of valuable time for me to study
Nevertheless, I really appreciate having such a gig granted it allows me to get experience as to something akin to a real job.

Hi there! I've been working in the hotel for 3 month and the best in my job- my schedule 1/3. Also i have opportunity to sleep at night, not always all night, but nonetheless it's cool. I've got 3 days off in a row and i'm glad about it. Before i worked 9 to 6 and it wasn't my dream.. work week was so long and boring, and i was along in my office most of the time.. Generly speaking it was dull job. Now, i' m not keen of my job, but i go here only 1 or 2 times a week, and it's not difficult job.
And i don't lose hope get really pleasure from job in the future. I think in my way it should be my own business

My working situation is quite common as many people do and I enjoy my work without much stress, except (bloody) commuting rush hours!

I work in subway from midnight to 6 a.m. five nights per week. I like only some moments in my job, my commute to work takes 20 minutes, after working I sleep to 1-2 p.m. thus, it takes me more free time, which I can to spend on self-development and different entertainment, but on the other hand I always want to sleep. I will try to replace my job, but now, maybe somebody of you could give me advice, as I can get on my work-life balance.

You are doing a good thing, just keep going!

My office place is very close to my home. Thus, it saves time and transportation. On the other hand, the work stations are not in good condition. If I would get a chance then I will replace the existing work stations with good quality.