Work-life balance has taken on a new meaning as work patterns changed during COVID-19. This is a curated list of links to work-life balance readings, research, and resources, created in 2021. This page is being updated regularly, so please let us know if you have any suggestions or would like our support to get back to balance.
‘Extreme burnout’: 1 in 5 Australians quit their job last year, says NAB (February 2022) – One in five Australians quit their job within the last year, research by the National Australia Bank shows, and almost one quarter are considering changing their place of employment.
Navigating ‘The Great Resignation’ (November 2021) – The pandemic has changed many things, but there’s one shift not all employees may yet have realised.
As boundaries between work and home vanish, employees need a ‘right to disconnect’ (April 2021) – Our forebears would not recognise the ephemeral way we work today, or the absence of boundaries around it. But powerful new technologies have disrupted last century’s clearer, more stable, predictable limits on the time and place of work.
- Why it’s wrong to look at work-life balance as an achievement (March 2021) – Traditionally, we view reaching a good work-life balance as hitting a goal. But it may be more of a moving target than we realise.
- Beyond burned out (February 2021) – Chronic stress was rampant before the pandemic. Leaders can’t ignore it any longer.
- How the pandemic will shape the workplace trends of 2021 (January 2021) – The economist John Maynard Keynes predicted in 1930 that the amount we work would gradually shrink to as little as 15 hours a week as technology made us more productive. A lot has changed since then.
- Has coronavirus and working from home given us the biggest productivity increase of the century? (September 2020) – Discussion of the crisis has mostly worked on the assumption that a return to something like the pre-crisis ‘normal’ is both inevitable and desirable.
- Remote working is not going away: who wins and loses when workers stay home? (July 2020) – Australians have embraced remote working, and so have big businesses, but work-life balance for some is ‘a prison’ for others
- This Work-Life Balance Study Reveals 3 Major Problems: Here’s What We Need To Ask (February 2020) – Among U.S. employees, Gartner found that work-life balance is valued more than health benefits, which makes sense given that work-life integration keeps us healthy.
- Give Up on Work-Life Balance (May 2019) – In the end, the pursuit of balance can itself be exhausting. In fact, some researchers think that rather than beat yourself up striving to balance work and life, it might be better to simply embrace the imbalance.
- In Praise of Extreme Moderation (June 2018) – Workaholism is a badge of honor, and extremism is becoming the norm not only in our professional lives but increasingly in our personal lives as well. What if, instead, we embraced extreme moderation, extreme balance?
- Having No Life is the New Aspirational Lifestyle (February 2017) – It used to be that we equated power and prestige with a leisurely, luxurious lifestyle. Today, lack of leisure time is the real status symbol.
- “Lost Connections – Why You’re Depressed and How to Find Hope” by Johann Hari (2018)
- “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life” by Mark Manson (2016)
Fatigue – the emotional cost of the moral life? (May 2021) – Fatigue is a fascinating moral phenomenon. What are the dangers of fatigue, and how are we to respond to it when it overtakes us?
- The Return Part 1: How to ace hybrid and the “third space” (April 2021) – How do you feel about heading back to the office? Elated at the prospect of being near your colleagues or deflated at the prospect of putting on pants with an actual waistband?
The Return Part 2: How to ace hybrid and the “third space” (April 2021) – As many of us head back into the office – at least some of the time – after a year at home, it’s a pretty big psychological shift.
- Preventing Workplace Mental Health Injuries Would Save Billions (May 2021) – New research from the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work suggests that by requiring stronger monitoring and prevention measures in Australian workplaces, a significant share of mental illness and injury could be avoided. In addition to reducing the toll of mental illness for workers and their families, these measures would also generate substantial economic and fiscal benefits.
- Investing in Better Mental Health in Australian Workplaces (May 2021) – full report, see above.
- Flexible work arrangements help women, but only if they are also offered to men (March 2021) – Flexible workplace policies designed to improve gender gaps in employment and pay might actually make things worse for women.
- Work-life balance in a pandemic: a public health issue we cannot ignore (February 2021) – Before the pandemic, a common objection to remote working was the suspicion that staff would disengage and productivity levels would drop. But recent evidence suggests the opposite is true – working from home effectively means working more.
- Four-day week: how workplaces can successfully establish it (January 2021) – Many workplaces have been experimenting with different types of flexible working arrangements for years now, but the pandemic has made the need for flexibility far more pressing.
- Work-Life Balance Is a Cycle, Not an Achievement (January 2021) – Despite the resounding evidence that working long hours can be harmful to both employees and employers, many professionals still struggle to overcome their assumptions — and their deeply ingrained habits — around work hours. What does it take to free yourself from these unhealthy patterns and reach a more sustainable, rewarding work-life balance?
- You’re Right! You are Working Longer Hours and Attending More Meetings (September 2020) – A study of 3 million people confirms what many work-from-home employees already know: We’re swamped.
- The State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia (2014) – According to an ABS study, 45% of Australians between the ages of 16-85 will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. It is estimated that untreated mental health conditions cost Australian workplaces approximately $10.9 billion per year.
Is it time to rethink ‘balance’? – Work-life balance in a pandemic (PDF presentation)
Smiling Mind – Mindfulness at work
InsightTimer – Meditation and mindfulness app
Bullet Journal – How it works and how to get started
Decision Making Matrix – Balance your resources with the potential rewards for better decisions
My Plan – Rethinking balance personal plan