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.

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One advantage of my work is it's too flexible. I do everything on my own time. I have no tension about work. One disadvantage is that in this time I'm sleeping too much about 10 hours or more. I think this is not very good for me about future. I think I should do hard work.

I'm happy at work. I work from the office, but I can work from home at any time. The ability to work from home is good for a family. My office is close to my home, so I can walk to the office. I go to the office mainly for social contacts with colleagues. I lead two teams that are in separate offices, so I often go from one office to another. I'd rather have one common office for both my teams.

In my case, I am an entrepreneur I enjoy my job working by myself and having a flexible schedule. The only thing after three years is that every week is different, the income is very variable and I miss having coworkers.
I think one advantage is that I can direct my schedule. I think a disadvantage is that I can't do my job well because the students don't have devices or internet. I would like to go to school soon.
From my experience, owing to several changes, I've seen me obligated to leave my job, nevertheless, I could start my own business and now, I travel around the near towns to my home, looking for new clients, but, I hope to restart my search, for a good job at home, I'm aware of the risk to travel could be a dangerous commute, I rather stay at home and enjoy my family. Otherwise, I would like to continue with my new entrepreneurship.
My working situation is almost perfect. I am a freelancer lawyer and work for my own. I can juggle my work tasks with my family. I rented an office and it location is marvelous. Nevertheless, with the Covid pandemic registries, notaries and courts are open for five business days and, afther that, locked down during a week. So, It's a little annoying. I hope we can overcome the pandemic soon.
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.
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.
The are many advantages of my current job, I have a job that is close to home, allowing me spend less in gasoline and sleep longer, also at lunchtime I can go home, eat and stay with my family, in addition to my boss is in France, so I can deal with my daily tasks as I want with no pressure. On the downside, there are not many people in my office and I am the only one in my department, so I miss share my opinion with other colleagues.
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...
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.
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.
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.
My working situation is quite simple - I'm in me maternity leave so I don't work at all )) Of course, it doesn't mean I spend my time lying on the couch, I'm always busy with all that homework stuff: feeding, washing, cleaning, cooking, playing, parting my fighting kids, shopping, walking in the park or on the playground and all over again. Honestly, I've never been so tired at work like in that "leave". In both mentally and physically ways. Well, if you have kids, you know what I mean. But, someone has to do that why not me? At the same time, I'm trying to get a new profession (the old one doesn't satisfy me any more). For this reason, I study a lot via different online courses, when I have free time, mostly when my wife comes home from work. I want to change my profession when I will get back from my leave.
Hello friends My professional obligation requires regular attendance to office, I engage 5 to 8 five days a week. Being managerial position my incoming timing could be late by few minutes, but leaving office generally needs additional time from formal hours. Although, I don’t support stay late in office unless some emergency, but a few offices follow the culture to please their bosses. I consider performing your duty on time shows your ability to manage your job with smartness. This should be appreciated and encouraged by management so employees can finish their task on time. It will not only keep staff happy, but also help to reduce the unnecessary overtime cost.
i found out that home office for me has more advantages compared to disadvantages. Namely, i have more free time for me and my family. I don't waste a time commuting. I am well organized and i try to obey fixed working hours regardless i am at home. It is better because of everyday online comunication with my workmates and i am aware that is better to separate worktime and free time and to make better balance between work and pleasure.
In this Pandemic situation working from home is good . but i prefer working at office only . advantages of Working from home is to reduce the transport cost easily do other works also when we have time disadvantages is lack of communication with boss and collegues . easily we wil get into distraction
I work selling eggs by buying them dirty with some hen waste at first, we wash them at home and then we sell them in mainstream price. The downside of this work is that you have to put up with large journeys since the owner of the eggs is about fifty kilometres far, and also washing them is sort of a burden. But the advantage is that you are not alone; despite all of this situation, you're accompanied with your relatives and they help you with several tasks you're not likely to deal with them altogether alone. A nice way to enhance the productivity is by innovating a straightforward device which helps you to wash the eggs effortlessly.
The advantages are I have a lot of coworkers friends, I'm unbored because I attend to different offices in my end, and they pay me well.
commuting from home to work and conversely, waste my time, but I have converted it to a good situation for listening English podcasts and speaking English by myself. If I could I try to change my working conditions due to I have a five-nine job and workload, what s more I have terrible stress during my work hours.I do not enjoy my job.
As the pandemic struck, our offices are forced to do working from home. It’s quite beneficial in some way, as we can reduce the transportation cost and spend a lot more time with our family in home. But for working itself, I found that it’s not really effective. First, lack of communication. With the boss, colleagues, and the client. It feels really different when having discuss through online than having an actual discussion in one room. Second, the time management. There will be a lot of distract while working from home and not everyone can put on their right priority that would leave them in sort of lack time-management.
My working hours are 8 am to 5 pm, five days in a week. Although my commute time is less than 20 minutes, but sometimes I miss working hours ' freedom, especially when I have personal work during office hours. This is true that you can't have cake and eat it too. Every option has its own pros and cons. I am satisfied with my current office timing and enjoy exception sometime.
Working in an office could be great. While working, you can interact with your colleages, making your social life a little bit interesting. In my case, my job does not have a schedule, some days you work in the evening, others in the morning...even at night! But I really love my job, being a big part of my life. I enjoy too much working with my colleages, some of them are my best friends.
Pros (advantages) *Good team work *Adequately equipped Cons (disadvantages) *No breaks *2 Long shifts/working hours *Low pay *Limited staffing Given an opportunity to make changes, I will ensure that there is adequate staffing so that employees get to have their breaks. Tackling staffing issues will automatically bring about a change in the number of shifts from 2 to 3 and consequently sustain productivity and prevent burnout.
The advantages of home office are avoid the commute time and have more time for self improvement activities. The disadvantages are to find a good place for work and maintain the balance between personal and professional roles.
The advantage include creativity and the disadvantage include distraction. I would create room for conductive working conditions.
Currently, I'm working on a road transport company. At the first time, I founded the difficulties to manage my time, I was
I work for a seafood restaurant as a waitress in the heart of Amsterdam central. My English in the beginning wasn’t in a high level so I had to secure funding and unfortunately this job doesn’t meet my needs. My shift is only in the afternoon so I have the opportunity to sleep more during of morning’ s hours but unfortunately that is the only good notice that I have to say for this job. First of all speaking for myself, I am an extrovert person, so afternoon shifts don’t help me to have social life, most of my friends work during in the morning hours. In addition I studied in my country business planning and that kind of job doesn’t give me the equal to develop my skills and my capabilities. Also doesn’t help me to evolve ideas because the most exciting assignment that I can do is to sell fish in numerous rich people, so I have only handwork and I can’t devise ideas. On the other side my manager announced few days ago that my next contract will be not expanded after July because it didn’t pre-approved from my founder. So in this case in Holland I can have a golden opportunity to looking for the job that could be meet my needs. I hope that I will leap the chance.
I am working in a finance department. The office hour is very stable. I seldom need to work overtime. It is an advantage for me as I can take care of my family. My workmates are very nice and friendly. These two are the main reasons why I can work in the same company for a long period of time.

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.
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.
Since my workplace is closed to my house, i can take care of my toddler son when i have no patients is great advantage for me. Since lived close to hospital and whenever emergencies patients are come your medic keep calling me is the disadvantage the you work the whole day and need to get up for emergency patients. I would prefer one doctor who can do the night shift to cover for emergency patients.
I have a five weekly work, I do a nine to six job in my own office. I spend all the time take care of people I have to listen to them exam them and give them prescriptions and explain then how they use the drugs. I don’t wast Time making idle chit chat. My job even though make me really tired every day it stills interesting and human. It gives me a huge satisfaction et make me happy. I like my job and I hope to be able to do it. until my death.

Hello corflz

You could say 'his' or 'her' but 'their' is also correct. When we don't know the gender of the person we are talking about, we often use a third person plural form ('they', 'them', 'their', etc.).

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

I am freelancer and I find my situations is similar to Lily's so i find the solution of renting a co-working space is very suitable for me .
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