This article poses a challenge to the orthodox binary, conceptualization of work–life balance only made possible by relying on the widespread ‘clock time’ worldview, which understands employment practices in terms of the basic time = money equation. In particular, it is the balance metaphor which relies on a quantification of both work and life in order to make sense and can therefore be seen to be based on an understanding of time as a measurable and value-able unit. This article seeks to begin the exercise of examining the concept of work–life balance through a broader concept of the temporal dimension than simply limited quantitative notions. Two temporal themes are reported from a study which identified employees who had customized their working pattern to suit the various and multi-dimensional facets of their lifestyles and thereby successfully improved their work–life balance. Participants in this study demonstrated that an improved work–life balance is more about a mind-set that refuses to be dominated by a work temporality and is determined to create ‘me time’ rather than e.g. simply choosing a four day week or a part-time job. It is argued that the notion of work–life balance is more usefully conceptualized within a broader notion of ‘livingscapes’ which contain both elements of work and life and that as researchers, our challenge must be to reflect the complexity of this weave within our analyses of individuals’ work–life balance.
- Work-life balance
- Flexible working