According to The Age‘s report of the first Australian Work and Life Index
…work follows most people beyond the office with men especially reporting more “spillover” than women. Yet, in a seemingly contradictory finding, three-quarters of those surveyed said they were satisfied with the bargain struck between work and life. (emphasis added)
The seemingly contradictory statistics run like this: around half of workers say that work interferes with ‘activities outside work’ (combining ‘sometimes’ and ‘often/almost always’) and with ‘community connections’. Sixty percent think that it ‘interferes with ‘enough time for family and friends’. Only 16% say that they ‘never/rarely’ feel rushed for time. Yet 75% say that they are satisfied with their work-life balance.
The missing concept that leads journalists to think these results are contradictory – and a concept that is missing rather too often from labour market analysis – is trade-off. There are more worthwhile things that most of us would like to do than we can fit in a day, a week, or even a life, and this means that we cannot maximise them all in the same time period. Yet we can be satisfied with our overall work-life balance because given the objectives we have we are content with the trade-offs we have made.
This is evident in the statistics provided in Work and Life Index report. Continue reading “Why are people satisfied with their work-life balance?”