In the balance

In the balance

As the new year begins, inevitably a rash of economic predictions will follow. In all probability, there’ll be talk of growth, prosperity and opportunity. In truth, 2016 will see most continuing the small steps of recovery from the pain of the recent recession… and a shoebox flat in central London will set you back six billion pounds and the moon.

When working life is tough – as many would argue it is, was and always will be – the importance of work/life balance is thrown into sharper focus. The flippant argument has often been to ‘work smarter, not harder’. It sounds glib and it is, or at least it was. Affording yourself the opportunity to spend time with your family, down the pub or doing whatever floats your boat – quite possibly including, for some, literally floating your boat – is a more realistic prospect than ever thanks to a raft (see what we did there?) of web and app-based tools that can help to take some of the stress out of admin. They’re not a panacea but they might give you a fighting chance of clawing back some of your precious time.

Data from Glow-worm’s recent Installer Insight report show an interesting split in installers’ circumstances. Nearly 40% are cited as saying that they wish they had more work, while a third are trying to free up more time. In many ways, this exemplifies the problem. Perfect work/life balance is a lofty aim largely because it is so difficult to achieve. In all likelihood, the day will never come when you won’t have to work unsociable hours – by which we mean unsociable in the traditionally accepted sense, not that prescribed by government to junior doctors. Other than the clichéd ‘not enough hours in the day’, the main reason for this is that your chosen profession will always be subject to the whims of your customers, whose own work/life balance is of far greater concern to them than yours.

Ordinarily, the final paragraph of a viewpoint piece would offer a nice, neat bow with which to wrap up everything that went before. Fate has intervened, though, and it’s clocking off time so there’s no punchline and no pay-off. How’s that for finding a balance?

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