Despite our best efforts to maintain a decent work and life balance, most of us feel like we're drowning. In theory, we've all got it down pat a lah a Nancy Meyers rom-com. We've got the fulfilling career, the gorgeous apartment with the high-rise ceilings, and we daily meet our friends for drinks after work.
Um, yeah - not happening. In reality, most of us are struggling. Work consumes us. Our days start so early and end so late, we feel like zombies dragging our feet to bed and feeling like we accomplished nothing. And how can that be? We're too busy to do anything we actually want to do, and yet our long list of to-do's never get done. We never made it to that city, we never went to the concert, we never ended up taking that ceramics class...okay, this is getting depressing, I'll stop.
But what if you worked at a company that allowed you to take 12 entire weeks of "life leave" to go and just... live life?
If you have a full-time job, then you probably get at least two weeks of vacation time.
via: Getty ImagesWhich is really nice. Who doesn't like taking off from work and re-charging?
There's nothing better than a vacation.
via: Getty ImagesTo get out of the office, say goodbye to the cubicle, and relax in the sun - it's truly the best.
But two weeks can fly by so quickly.
via: Getty ImagesAnd we've all been there. We think the Sunday Scaries are bad, but there's nothing worse than the vacation scaries.
The depression sets in quickly.
via: Getty ImagesNobody likes having to goodbye to vacay time. But...what if you worked for a company that gave you more than just a week or two of time off?
That would be the dream, wouldn't it?Well, Australian company Ernst & Young is offering their employees 12 weeks of "life leave." Twelve. Weeks. Of...life leave?
So what is "life leave" exactly?According to Ernst & Young, "life leave" means travelling, working part-time, or just straight up relaxing. Excuse me?
Yes, this accountancy firm will let you take off 12 weeks to do basically whatever you want.Should we all move to Australia and work for Ernst & Young? I've already packed my bags.
They won't pay you for that time, though.According to Business Insider, if you're an employee of Ernst & Young, you can take the time off in one or two chunks, but you have to fund it yourself. Fine by me! You can still take tons of time off and not lose your job.
They're also employing two initiatives.
via: Getty ImagesThey're called "term-time working" and "temporary part-time," Business Insider reported.
What do those things mean, though?
via: Getty Images"Flexible work policies like this are necessary because of increased competition for talent," Kate Hillman, Ernst & Young's Oceania's people partner said.
But why offer such flexibility?
via: Getty ImagesWell, it makes sense when you think about it. When you're looking for a job, what are some of the deciding factors?
There are things like the company culture and company vibe that aid in deciding to take a job...
via: Getty ImagesAs well as pay and of course, the major selling point - flexibility. Especially for millennials. The lure of a flexible job is insanely appealing.
The policies for Ernst & Young will go into effect on April 1.
via: Getty ImagesBusiness Insider reports that the policies will allow employees to have a part-time option for up to three months, or to work full-time during school term times. If you do the latter, you'll have school holidays off.
Which is exceedingly enticing for parents.
via: Getty ImagesThey can, in theory, be on the same schedule as their children. Hillman explained to Business Insider that the policies are "intended to address a growing demand for flexible work environments in general, not just working parents."
Who wouldn't want to work at a company that fostered and encouraged you to pursue other things?"We're innovating so we don't lose these people while they pursue passions outside of work," Hillman said.
Millennials are taking over.
via: Getty ImagesA big reason why the company is employing these new policies has to do with the fact that they've hired a lot of millennials.
The company claims that millennials prioritize flexibility in their job search.
via: Getty Images"Millennials are also driving demand for flexibility as their preference for diverse and stimulating career experiences overrides traditional workplace structures and timelines," Hillman explained.
Hillman estimated that by next year, millennials would make up roughly 80% of Ernst & Young's workplace.
via: Getty ImagesIt's important to cater to the demographic that makes up the majority of the company.
These policies really do sound extremely beneficial.
via: Getty ImagesAnd not just beneficial to the employee, but also beneficial to the company. When your company is made up of happy employees, it's only going to serve everyone better.
More and more people are beginning to work remotely and seek out flexibility in their careers.
via: Getty ImagesThe traditional 9 to 5, clock in and clock out seems to be fading away. There are also lots of benefits that come with working from home.
While working from home and having flexibility may sound intimidating to some (how does anyone focus?!) it can actually help you flourish as an employee.
via: Getty ImagesAccording to Remote.co, working remotely can actually increase your productivity as an employee.
I mean, think about it...There's no annoying coworker bothering you and keeping you from doing your work. The dream!
Working from home also reduces stress, Remote.co says.Apparently, 82% of people who work-from-home reported less stress than those that work in-office.
This I can totally understand.
via: Getty ImagesEspecially if you're a pet owner - you can pet your cat when you feel anxious about a big call coming up. You can't do that in your cubicle. Besides, home is a safe space. Working there just makes everything feel a little better.
Of course, having flexibility and working remotely also demands self-discipline.
via: Getty ImagesIt can push you and challenge you. Speaking from experience, having flexible jobs can make it really easy to want to hole up on the couch and binge The Great British Baking Show.
But it keeps you accountable.
via: Getty ImagesYou're the only one who's going to force you to show up to work every day. It helps you become organized and stick to your own schedule.
Also, you're saving the environment when you work remotely or part-time.
via: Getty ImagesLess driving=less fumes! You're reducing your carbon footprint and that's a win/win.
Ultimately, there are positives and negatives to working remotely or having a super flexible job.
via: Getty ImagesBut it's very exciting that big companies like Ernst & Young are taking their employer's happiness and quality of life into consideration.
It ultimately makes the job more meaningful.
via: Getty ImagesAnd it allows you to know you're valued and appreciated. So often when you work a job, it's easy to feel forgotten or downtrodden.
Will this inspire other companies to introduce policies that promote more flexibility?
via: Getty ImagesWho can say? But in the meantime, remember that finding a balance between life and work is incredibly important. Share this with your biggest workaholic friend!