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)
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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.

Submitted by FatCat03 on Mon, 06/03/2023 - 12:52


I am a student. I have online classes due to the earthquake in Turkey. I can say that I don't waste time for commute. But, it's hard to concentrate at home and my comprehension is worse than physical education. Also, interaction between teacher and students is lower which makes the lessons boring.

Submitted by Sanja on Sun, 12/02/2023 - 13:39


I work with children with special needs. I like to work with children more than adults and it is one advantage. The second advantage is a lot of free time to learn and take care of my own child. Disadvantage is poor salary

Submitted by howtosay_ on Fri, 03/02/2023 - 03:33



Could you please help with this:

Should I say "I go to my second work" or "I go to my second job"? I've seen "commute to work", but I have doubts whether I am to use the same if talking about my second job?

I'm sorry for this question doesn't refer to the particular text provided here.

I am so much grateful for your job and thank you for answering this post beforehand!

Hello howtosay_,

'job' and 'work' are both very commonly used words and so have many different uses and meanings. I'd encourage you to follow the links to have a closer look at them, and to read through the top definitions of both. (Note that 'work1' refers to 'work' as a verb; you have to scroll down to 'work2' to find the definitions for its use as a noun.)

In the sentence you ask about, 'I go to my second job' is the correct form. 'work' is mostly an uncountable noun, so it doesn't make sense to say *'my second work'.

By the way, at the end you should say 'I am so grateful for your work'. (And thanks for letting us know -- it's always nice to hear!)

Best wishes,
LearnEnglish team


Submitted by wiktorka on Wed, 16/11/2022 - 19:30


I work in a restaurant as a waitress. I think that's quite a bad work. An only advantage are tips which sometimes can be quite big, however I'm not even getting national lowest. people are often rude and don't respect our work. although i have an amazing team, we laugh quite a lot, sometime go to some parties

Submitted by olhamats on Fri, 22/07/2022 - 10:55


There are a few reasons why I like working at home. First of all I don't need spend time for commuting and as a result I don't feel myself exhausted at the end of the day. Secondly, if person wants to have some job that is located in another city, but don't want to move out, remote job is the best decision.

But there are also drawbacks. For example, team of people feel themself more comfortable during working process if they know each other better. And the better way for colleagues to know each other is to eat lunches together, to ask about well-being, hobbies and family members.

So, for me the best decision is to have opportunity time to time to visit office.

Submitted by Barrita on Thu, 05/05/2022 - 18:55


I am working in the officce, but for pandemic i worked online it is so dificult because in my contry the internet is bad and anytime I can´t conecting my device and at homehas many varieti of distraction