Then in the 1980s came the idea of work-life balance, when people were demanding more flexibility than the standard working hours (which had steadily reduced over the previous century). But with the banking crisis the term suddenly dropped out of fashion.
We were told it was now work-life merge! And who was promoting this idea? Well women were doing their bit to discourage us from thinking that you could have a healthy balance between work and home allowing you to have quality time with your family.
Women like Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook who encouraged women to “lean in” to have the best of both worlds. Or Marissa Mayer who was appointed to the top job at Yahoo when she was pregnant, built herself a crèche next to her office and banned staff from working from home.
Mayer is currently under pressure having lost about a dozen C-level executives this year and has been accused of having a controlling management style. She’s currently pregnant with twins and plans to take two weeks maternity leave (her entitlement is 16 weeks). Mark Zuckerberg (head of Facebook) on the other hand is planning to take two months off work when his child is born.
But enough of theses highly paid female CEOs. The good news is that over a million men in the UK are now making an effort to get more out of life than just work by reducing their hours or working more flexibly. They are keen to stay fit, follow a hobby, see more of their kids, and contribute more to their communities.
NB This year there were 14.3 million men employed full-time and 2.1 million working part-time in the UK.
FYI Britain doesn’t come out too well in the OECD list of top countries for work-life balance. Denmark is No. 1 followed by Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium and Norway. We come in at No.23! Sweden is 6th and currently experiencing an upsurge of interest in work-life balance
So a long way to go by comparison but don’t let these highly paid American female CEOs put you off!