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A definition of Work-Life Balance for Policy Makers

It is important for government, companies, campaigners and individuals to understand what work-life balance means in order to create policies, adequately support workers and for individual workers understand their rights and thrive, when working remotely.

What is Work-Life Balance: Our definition

WLB means feeling in control of how you balance the various demands of all aspects of one’s life to support and enable wellbeing. In this context, wellbeing is about more than just trying to avoid being ill, it also encompasses feelings of happiness, fulfilment and job satisfaction to achieve complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing.” 

Professor Anna L Cox

Wellbeing and Boundary Control: The Work-Life Balance Equilibrium

We created a graphic to illustrate how sense of wellbeing at work and the level of control that one has over the boundaries between their work and personal life may interact to affect work-life balance. We refer to this interaction between wellbeing and boundary control as Work-Life Balance Equilibrium.

We hypothesise that different levels of wellbeing combined with different levels of boundary to control would lead to distinct Work-Life Balance Equilibrium outcomes:

  • Low boundary control and high wellbeing: You may currently have high well-being, but are at risk because you are not in control of your work-life boundaries.
  • Low boundary control and low wellbeing: Your mental health may be at risk; Burnout may be experienced. 
  • High boundary control and low wellbeing: High boundary control gives you the ability to pay more attention to physical, mental and social wellbeing thus increasing it.
  • High boundary control and high wellbeing: The Work-Balance Equilibrium: optimal state; You have a higher likelihood of sustained wellbeing.