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Balancing act that must be achieved
update on Friday, March 18, 2011

Many job-seekers talk about the importance of having a good work-life balance. They want time for personal interests and family commitments, while pursuing a career that offers professional satisfaction and a fair income.

Finding that balance, though, is not as easy as it might seem. In Hong Kong, work tends to take over, eating into our personal time and making it difficult to draw clear lines between the different areas of our lives.

This prompted us to ask, in an online survey, if work-life balance is really attainable in the modern context? Encouragingly, more than 40 per cent of local respondents said it was possible - provided they battle hard to make it happen. Another 36 per cent suggested the key was having a "flexible" employer.

The survey showed us there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, responding to pressure, employers are now more ready to consider various options. These include "compressed" working weeks, part-time positions, job sharing and working from home.

Anyone looking for a better balance should explore such options with their employer. Often, it is possible to reach a sensible compromise with a little adjustment on both sides. It is definitely worth the effort. Feedback shows that individuals who feel they can maintain a proper work-life balance are generally happier, healthier, more productive, and likely to be more loyal to their employer in the long run.

Emma Charnock, regional director,Hays Hong Kong & China

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