This Is What It Means To Have Work-Life Balance

It’s often said that a good work-life balance is a perfect 50/50 split between “work” and “life.” I don’t agree with that – let’s chat about why!

Before We Dive In, I’d Like To Say “Hello”

Hi! If you’re new around here you may not know that I’m Drew (he/him), Webfor’s Senior Advertising Specialist. I lead the Community team (read: Social Media and Paid Advertising). Outside of marketing, I love spending time with my partner and our son, reading a good book while sipping an iced oat milk mocha, or scrolling through TikTok (sometimes I even create a thing or two!). 

Ok, back to our scheduled programming…

What Is Work-Life Balance?

According to Cambridge Dictionary, work-life balance is “the amount of time you spend doing your job compared with the amount of time you spend with your family and doing things you enjoy.” I think that definition is simple and straightforward. 

But, when we think of the word balance we often imagine something like this:

Perfect balance, completely level.

I don’t think that’s the goal of work-life balance, though. I don’t think that a perfectly level scale between work and life is achievable, or even what anyone actually wants. 

Why Isn’t a 50/50 Work-Life Balance Realistic?

There are 168 hours total in a given week (24 hours per day x 7 days per week). 

On average, we spend 56 of those hours sleeping, leaving us with 112 active hours in a week

If we put in 40 hours a week at work, that means we’re spending about 35% of our active time at work. If you work in an office, you have to add commute time to that which may push those hours closer to the 40%-45% mark. 

That means that just based on our expected full time work week, even with a commute, our “balance” is more like 40% work, 60% life. 

So, What Do People Mean When They Say They Want 50/50 Work-Life Balance?

I think they ultimately mean that they want to feel like there’s an equal balance between work and life. And that I agree with and think is achievable! I just don’t think “equal” has to mean a 1-to-1 relationship in this case. 

What Does Work-Life Balance Look Like?

For me, I love what I do for a living, and I love my life outside of work. I want there to be balance and harmony between the two. I know that there may be times where work needs a little extra effort and attention, and that time has to come from somewhere. Similarly, though, there are times when life requires extra care. 

Here’s an example of work-life balance (in my opinion):

My first child was born in March of this year. I worked some extra hours in January and February to prepare to take a month off of work. Then, I was off for the month of March to spend time with my wife and our new baby. There were a handful of complications after his birth that led to not one but two readmissions to two different hospitals. We spent more time in hospitals than we did at home in March, and it was scary to say the least. 

Side note: Everyone is fine and healthy now, thankfully. But looking back, I can’t imagine having to have needed to ask for extra time off work, not knowing if I’d get paid for that time because I didn’t have enough accrued PTO while simultaneously racking up hospital bills. That would have added a layer of unnecessary stress and I would have missed out on the opportunity to just be present with my family. 

But the point is I probably had more of a 75%-25% balance between work and life respectively in January and February, and 100% focus went to life in March. To me, that is true work-life balance!

I want to know what work-life balance means to you, so leave a comment below or on our socials!