I touched slightly on this in my All Change post this summer. Starting a full-time job in London can come as a bit of a shock to someone who has been travelling and freelancing for a while. Juggling work and life is hard, evenings seem to pass so quickly and simple errands and chores become the main plan for the day outside of work. I feel a sense of achievement upon going to bed at night if the washing up is done, laundry put away and the cushions rearranged on the sofa. Finding time to write is almost impossible, especially when I aim to be in the gym 2-3 evenings a week plus weekends. “Oh no, you don’t have time to do anything!” Elena, my hairdresser, told me on my recent visit. It was 10pm on a Tuesday night and we weren’t done. She may have a point, considering that this was the only time that I could fit in 3hrs of highlights. She once told me that she doesn’t have time to eat, hence she was rocking a pair of leather leggings that day. I do not have that problem, hence why I was not. But that’s another blog entirely.
“There’s no such thing as work-life balance. There’s work, and there’s life, but there’s no balance.”
The above quote came from Sheryl Sandberg, the first woman on Facebook’s board of directors. She also stated, “I walk out of this office every day at 5.30pm so I’m home for dinner with my kids.” but admitted that it took her a few years to be able to say it aloud. If you’ve ever judged someone for shutting down their computer, grabbing their bag and walking out of the office bang on time as if they’ve just heard the school bell go, think again. These people have lives outside of work, as do you, and you’re probably only judging them because you’d love to be running out on time too. We shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for leaving at the end of the day… It is the norm after all.
The role of a woman in the workplace in today’s world is still constantly changing… Particularly because they will at some point most probably get pregnant, require maternity leave and then complete understanding when they run out early to attend a Christmas nativity or to make sure that someone can pick the kids up. (it’s easier than letting a dad out to do it). This is all Sandberg’s reasoning. She may be on the board of one of the biggest companies in the world, but she is also a mother who wants to have dinner with her children in the evening, before jumping back on the email in the evening if necessary.
This makes perfect sense to me. In a works where a high percentage of people suffer from stress related illnesses as a result of long working hours, this broken up working day is an ideal solution. If your office closes at 6, leave at 6… Head home, go to the gym, have something to eat… Still think you need to send that email? Do it later, what’s the real difference between sending it at 6.30 and 8.30? Who else is sitting in their office waiting to receive it? More fool them in my opinion.