Why Do We Separate Work and Life?

A woman sits at a desk typing on a latop, there is a pen and a notepad.

Why Do We Separate Work and Life?

The traditional 9-5 that many organisations adhere to is deeply limiting to our human potential.

In the Employee Reality Survey I conducted, 67% of employees revealed that they have missed out on major life events due to the lack of flexible working within their organisation.

This statistic shows us that we have not yet established organisations that can fully support people in every aspect of their lives.

The term ‘work-life balance’ itself, shows just how much we have separated life from work, and that when employees enter into their working environments, their authentic selves are left at the door, and they must work like a cog in a wheel. Too many organisations still see people as a ‘resource’ to be used and discarded.

A graphic illustration of a company culture statistic in purple, orange and teal. It says, 79% of employees feel held back in life due to the lack of flexible working.

Life matters, but as a society, and to many businesses, it is seen as an acceptable notion to separate the two.

According to the Organisation of Economic Development, the UK currently ranks 29th in the work-life balance index.

It is no wonder then, that across organisations we see a deep lack in motivation and productivity, that provides leaders with ammunition to prevent flexible working.

Managers can easily insist that flexible working is not possible, making a request feel futile, and a challenge feel unreasonable.

When surveyed in the flexible working research, respondents revealed the vast array of major life events that had been missed because employers could not provide flexible working. A staggering 40% of employees had missed hospital or health-related appointments that were significant to their overall health.

15% of employees revealed that they have missed moving house, 10% have missed a child related activity, and 8% have missed a family funeral.

When the Flexible Working Policy was introduced in June 2014, it may have seemed like we were finally creating working environments where we were ‘allowed’ to have a life, but as detailed in this data, the reality is far from the perceived hopes.

Read and download the Flexible Working whitepaper here. 


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    About The Author

    Lizzie Benton is a people and culture specialist who supports organisations in developing a unique company culture and building engaged teams. Lizzie has been recognised as a millennial changing the world of work, and has been featured in the Metro, HuffingtonPost and has spoken across the UK on employee engagement. When not consulting or running a workshop, Lizzie can be found in rural Lincolnshire enjoying afternoon tea and fresh air.