Economics/Class Relations

Achieve work-life balance

November 18, 2023 • 5 min read
with Diamond Naga Siu
Happy Saturday, buds. The next time you hang with a friend, try going on a nonromantic, intentional date with them. These date-like hangouts helped a reporter understand themself better and strengthen their friendships.


In today’s big story, we’re looking at how the pandemic has twisted our perceptions of work-life balance — in good and bad ways.

What’s on deck
But first, work hard, play hard.


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The big story
Build a better work-life balance


The pandemic spurred a lot of changes to the workplace. And that’s impacted how people see and achieve work-life balance.


More than 60% of employees consider work-life balance a top priority in their next job, according to a 2022 Gallup study.


Gen Zers and millennials are demanding work-life balance and asking about it during job interviews. And some are even pushing back against working a 9-to-5 schedule.


“While this has long been a top priority, its importance has increased substantially since the pandemic,” Kristen Lipton, a managing director at Gallup, told me. She highlighted how people aren’t just aspiring for work-life balance — they’ve come to expect it.


Yet, the combination of remote and in-person work that many employees have to navigate has muddied things even more. Experts shared tips on small ways to improve your work-life balance.

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Beware of meetings


People are spending more than double the time in meetings than before. Ryan Anderson, a vice president at MillerKnoll, told me this creates rigidity in people’s schedules. It prevents people from prioritizing their personal and professional goals throughout the day.


“If your calendar is just chock-full of scheduled video meetings, you may feel much less balanced — might feel much less autonomy — than what you did even in 2018 or 2019,” Anderson said.


Although most employees want location flexibility, schedule flexibility is even more important to them, according to a recent workplace study from Future Forum.


Recognize how work creeps into your life


Lipton told me that people often (and erroneously) conflate remote-work flexibility with work-life balance. But that’s led to work seeping into every aspect of our lives: the dinner table, couch, and even vacations.


“Self check-ins to consider whether the work setting, style, or load are contributing positively or negatively to work-life balance,” Lipton said, “and consider what we need to do to improve our situation.”


Value the commute


Although studies have shown that long commutes are bad for people’s mental health, a reasonable commute can be quite beneficial. It offers a physical boundary for people’s work and life, Anderson said.


“It gives you a chance to process the day and be ready to be engaged and present with the people you love in the evening,” Anderson told me. “Transitions and boundaries have gotten so blurred that it’s helpful for individuals to reestablish them.”


For more stories about work-life balance, check out:

3 things in
Fernando Constantino Martínez Belmar/NPOTY 2023
1. Nature Photographer of the Year winners show the world’s beauty and fragility. The winning photos include images of a black woodpecker, roe deer silhouettes, and an endangered jaguar. Winners were chosen from more than 20,000 submissions.


2. Check out Chinese President Xi Jinping’s luxurious, custom-built 18-foot sedan. It’s made by Chinese automaker Honqi. And the vehicle — comparable to a Rolls-Royce Phantom — is very different from the White House’s Cadillac (nicknamed Beast).


3. A town that became “one giant Airbnb” is now facing a reckoning. Hochatown, Oklahoma is only a 219-person town, but it has 2,400 Airbnbs. That’s created an economic force reshaping the small town.

3 things in
erhui1979/Getty Images
1. More workers should be on PIPs — but they need to be used correctly. Instead of instilling fear, performance improvement plans could help employees grow at work. Experts revealed a good PIP could actually help both sides.


2. Why Gen Zers are most likely to skip lunch. Roughly 70% of Gen Z workers report they don’t take lunch at least once a week, which is well above the average across all generations (48%). Their bosses are a key reason, since Gen Zers are more than twice as likely to worry that managers will disapprove of their midday meal.


3. Nearly a third of US workers say they go to therapy to cope with their toxic bosses, according to a new poll. Many workers reported feeling anxious before the workweek starts and having nightmares about their bosses. This toxicity can lead to mental health problems or unhealthy coping mechanisms.

3 things in
Stella Kalinina for Insider
1. Inside long-lived Loma Linda — a suburban town where the average person outlives other Americans by around 10 years. The atmosphere is easygoing, supportive, and social. It’s almost laughable how perfectly everyone fits the Loma Linda mold: eat right, exercise, have faith, and seek your purpose.


2. Millennials are in their spending era. They’re growing older and getting higher paying jobs. So now, many well-off millennials are keen to spend their money on things like quality items, time-saving services, and beauty products.


3. Hop in for a tour of the $1.5 million luxury tour buses celebs like Drake and Doja Cat use. The Dreamliner Luxury Coaches CEO said it’s “the bus company you call when you’ve made it.” In addition to 900-thread-count sheets and Le Labo candles, some of the buses even come with a music studio for artists who want to record on the road.


In other news


Edalin Photography/Shutterstock
For your bookmarks
Pumpkin pie alternatives
Easy Thanksgiving desserts that aren’t pumpkin pie. Chocolate-chip pumpkin bread and apple crisp are among the 10 festive alternative desserts.

News Quiz
Answers for the quiz from Friday’s edition
  • From Monday: The CEO of this tech company is traveling the US in a van to meet his company’s top users. Answer: Twitch
  • From Tuesday: This billionaire investor suggested VCs could be replaced by “an automated system.” Answer: Chamath Palihapitiya
  • From Wednesday: Leaked documents reveal this tech giant is blocking promotions of employees who don’t comply with its RTO policy. Answer: Amazon
  • From Thursday: The CEO of this British sandwich franchise was promoted 10 times on his way to the top role. Answer: Pret a Manger
  • From Friday: This company is using a new insulation material to make its refrigerators roomier. Answer: Whirlpool
Let me know how you did at
The Insider Today Saturday team

Diamond Naga Siu, senior reporter, in San Diego. Dan DeFrancesco, senior editor, in New York City. Hallam Bullock, editor, in London. Lisa Ryan, executive editor, in New York City.


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