Work-Life Balance: Is it Time for America to Get with the Program?

Image: William Stitt |

Thank goodness for this three-day weekend. By the way, Happy Labor Day Weekend to you guys! So many of us, like myself, are caught up in working the typical “9-5” jobs to pay bills, save, take care of loved ones, and to simply enjoy life. But working eight hours a day, 40 hours a week, with an added 2-4 hour daily commute time, makes it a bit difficult to really enjoy all the wonderful things that life has to offer. Some American dream, right?

I landed my first full-time job in January 2015. I graduated college in 2013 so this was two years in the making. My commute was a minimum of an hour and a half EACH WAY. That doesn’t include the time that it takes to get ready in the mornings. I’m currently employed with another company which is a lot closer to where I live. But still, although my commute isn’t nearly as brutal as the first job, why do I still always feel so pressed for time? Will this narrative stick with me for the rest of my life?

Yes, we all look forward to our precious three-day weekends because we work so hard for most of the year with limited vacation time to spend with our families, or spend doing things that we really enjoy. In reality, I believe that the days of working 9-5, 40 hours a week may not be necessary for all professions. Three-day weekends should not be something to look forward to once or twice a year—it should be a norm!

Let’s talk about 8-hour days—for what!? Are we all really working as hard as we could be working during those long ass hours which rob us of our peaceful mornings and the majority of our evenings? Hell, some of us don’t even get paid lunch breaks. I believe that we would be more productive at work if they cut back our daily work hours to 6 hours a day. We would get a hell of a lot more accomplished while gaining an additional 10 hours a week to LIVE.

With the transition of Millennial’s entering the work force, I think we have different ideas on life from our parents and grandparents. We want to travel, we want to spend time building connections outside of work, we want to make sure that we’re maintaining relationships with our family and friends. No, we don’t mind working hard, but we need BALANCE.

I believe more and more company’s are starting to catch on. More employers are giving their employees the option to work from home during the week. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of workers who worked from home had increased from 19% in 2003 to 24% in 2015. Amazon, TeleTech, and UnitedHealth Group are three companies that made it to the top 10 of Forbe’s list of 100 companies offering remote positions in 2016, 2015, 2014.

There may have been a time in American history where 8+ hour work days were necessary, but I believe those times may be behind us. Our country seems to have a difficult time breaking away from tradition, however just because something is “traditional,” does not make it right. The world is changing and it’s time for America to catch up!

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