- Elgar original reference
Edited by Samuel Cameron
6 Half full or half empty: the economics of work–life balance Samuel Cameron and Mark Fox INTRODUCTION All life we work but work is a bore, if life’s for livin’ what’s livin’ for? (‘Oklahoma U.S.A.’, composed by Ray Davies and released by the Kinks in 1971) Here we develop, in a more applied context, some themes covered in earlier chapters. We do this by examining an issue that has become prominent in modern life – that is, the issue of balancing one’s work with one’s life. We use the term ‘life’ as in ‘having a life’ and ‘quality of life’. The idea of achieving work–life balance implies that the enjoyment of leisure is a respite from work and other pressures. As evidenced in the wellknown work of Linder (1970), work–life pressures have had an increasing effect on women as market economies have moved towards the norm of a working mother, who may also be pursuing a career in an ambitious manner. Today, divorced and single-parent households are also commonplace. Furthermore, in many Western societies we see ageing populations, with employees increasingly juggling work obligations with providing care for elderly relatives. Increased business competition adds to the challenges of work–life balance. Technology provides the means for customers and suppliers to contact employees anytime and anywhere, with the expectation of a quick response. Technology also blurs the lines between work and ‘life’ by enabling employees (while ostensibly working) to communicate with family members and friends, and to take care...
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