Work-Life Strategies & Solutions

On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy

This or That? Work-Life Preferences Survey

From each of the following 4 pairs, select one answer:

This survey is based on:

  • My reading of telework related literature and websites showing that a substantial number of people would not mind working more hours if it meant that they have more control over their working conditions.
  • Observations and personal experience comparing self-employment (where it is typical to be working more than 40 hours per week) with regular employment (working 40 hours per week).

I’m just trying to gauge, to the best of my ability here, where this trade-off preference might end. I welcome comments that expand on the selections you’ve made. I’m looking forward to seeing your answers to the survey!

With regard to my own experiences, I would say that it’s easier for me to achieve work-life balance in a work-from-home, self-employed situation even though I frequently worked more than 8 hours in a day while being able to structure the work day around other non-work related tasks as I see fit. That is, the specificity of a work-shift and work location is more of an issue than the number of hours worked per week.

To round out this discussion, here’s a video of Nigel Marsh’s presentation, “Work Life Balance is an Ongoing Battle,” at TED Talks in Sydney, Australia. My favorite takeaway message from this:

“… governments and corporations aren’t going to solve this issue for us. Just stop looking outside. It’s up to us as individuals to take control and responsibility for the type of lives that we want to lead. If you don’t design your life, someone else will design it for you and you may just not like their idea of balance.” ~ Nigel Marsh

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4 responses to “This or That? Work-Life Preferences Survey

  1. Steve Riddle March 23, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Lynn – outstanding points raised in Nigel’s speech. He is so right and I found the core themes being so consistent with my own desires and goals and those I have tried to help others with. Thank you for bringing to my attention. PS: I like the sound of his ‘ideal’ day!!

  2. Thomas June 12, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Until my part-time, post-retirement job, I always worked in environments that afforded flexibility in work hours, though not in where I worked. But that was in the 1960s to mid-1990s. When it came to my post-retirement job in 1999-2000, I went along with the policy of on-site work for a while, then began to do most of my work at home — which was possible given the nature of the job. Others were itching to emulate me, but lacked my advantage — I didn’t need the job, I was doing it for the intellectual stimulation and not for the pittance it paid me. Perhaps that’s one key to becoming a teleworker: Negotiate the conditions of employment from a position of strength. If you’ve proven yourself to be a valuable and productive worker, and if you can show the higher-ups that you’re trustworthy, they should be willing to go along with some kind of telework arrangement. And if not … presumably you have highly marketable skills.

    • L. P. June 12, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      Thanks for this detailed comment and the tips Thomas! Much of what I’ve heard about acquiring a telework position echoes what you said. From what I’ve gathered (e.g., interviews with teleworkers about how they were able to negotiate their remote work position with their company), that bargaining power really helps. Having highly sought-after skills and being in the position to take the job or leave it was mentioned too.

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