The Results are in… Drumroll, Please

In my recent post What’s in a Name?, I questioned the validity of the term “Work-Life Balance”. Is it obsolete in our post-Covid reality, where work and home lives are more blended than ever? If so, what replaces it?

This blog, ‘A Fine Balance’, features people from a range of backgrounds sharing their experiences of balancing “work” (encompassing livelihoods and career ambitions etc.) with everything else in their lives. The common thread between the people I’ve interviewed is an agreement that “work” (be it paid or unpaid) holds a distinct status that sets it apart from other aspects of life.

From the interviews I’ve conducted, it has become evident that there is some value in seeking to quantify that distinction. It emerges time and again that the pursuit of balance between work and other aspects of life is a widely-held aspiration. Quantifying it provokes self-reflection and an assessment of work/life choices, as well as an attempt to understand the rationale behind the priorities that individuals set for themselves.

But is work:life the right ratio in which to frame the quantification of this balance?

I decided to put it to a vote.

I asked my readers which of the three expressions below best captures the split of balancing work with everything else in life. 49 people in total responded. And here are the results:

Now, I’m no social researcher, so I won’t pretend to know how best to draw a conclusion from these results. And whilst 49 is a fair response number in light of my blog’s modest following, I’m aware it isn’t a significant, or entirely representative, sample pool to work from.

But from my amateur perspective, I’m quite surprised at these results. The term “Life Balance” frequently comes up as an alternative to “Work-Life Balance”, so I did not expect that to come last.

As for “Work-Play Balance”, I decided to add this to the poll as a logical option, seeing as the word “play” literally has the opposite meaning to “work”. It has never seemed to catch much traction when I’ve suggested it before, so I was surprised to see how many people opted for that one.

And finally, the winner – good old fashioned “Work-Life Balance”. I didn’t expect that either. Maybe there’s something to be said for keeping to the status quo; or maybe removing the word “work” from the expression is a step too far because of its prominence in the pursuit of balance.

If any social researchers out there want to take a more educated approach to drawing conclusions from these results, I’d love to hear them.

Perhaps as my blog develops, another alternative expression will surface and I look forward to gathering more views on the subject. This result by no means closes the debate.

In the meantime, I continue interviewing people for my blog, writing up the stories of individuals’ experiences and choices in pursuit of balance. Each one individually complex, raw and personal.

One thought on “The Results are in… Drumroll, Please

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