How to raise the work life balance question?
Work life balance is often a motivating factor for a job seeker when changing role. Many individuals when they reach a certain point in their life have many important reasons not to be tied to the office for long hours of the day.
This perspective often conflicts with career ambitions within many industries where flexibility around working hours is not seen as the norm.
A challenge can arise when you are considering a potential move, but want to avoid a role that has a high expectation when it comes to time commitment.
There are three ways to deal with this, each with their own pro’s and con’s which are broken down as follows:
The Honest approach
If you are upfront with a potential employer about what you consider to be acceptable working hours and stipulate how far your flexibility runs, you can expect an employer to be upfront in return about what will work out for everyone. The last thing an employer wants is for someone to start with misplaced expectations and not stay in the role as a result.
The downside to this is that you may not be offered a role, but this is often the lesser of two evils.
If you want to get an idea of what the standard working week is like but don’t consider it to be a deal breaker, then use a recruiter to ask the question or ask the recruiter if they have an understanding of the work life environment within the company.
Whilst this approach insulates you from a perception being made about you, it also means that you are getting second hand information which has to be taken into account. Make sure you query the source of information passed to you and ensure you are satisfied with its accuracy before relying on it to make a decision.
If you want your information first hand, there are a variety of ways you can find out what a companies working hours are like. Do you know someone who works there or can you gain access to someone through your network? This is a great way to get accurate information.
An even more direct way to find out is to observe the office at normal closing hours and see what volume of people leave at this time.
Work life balance is not a short term consideration. When you take on a new role give thought to where you will be in 2 – 3 years’ time and ensure that you are factoring this into your decision.
If work life balance is important to you, make sure that you have clarity on what is expected before you take on a new role. As mentioned at the outset, it is a common reason why people change roles and both employers and job seekers should be mindful of everyone’s expectations from the outset.
Some of our current roles offer structured hours or work life balance – why not have a look!