Human resources – Work-life balance (A2-B1/a362)

A recent study by the Harvard Business Review highlighted where businesses should focus their efforts to improve work-life balance. Revise some key vocabulary on our Open Learning site.


How we talk about work-life balance

  1. Listen to two people talking about difficulties with their work-life balance. How did they improve it?
  2. Read the script, note some key vocabulary then listen again.
  3. Review some key expressions for describing work-life balance.
  4. Listen to and then repeat the key expressions.
  5. Test your understanding of the vocabulary by doing the quiz.


Speaker 1

We thought we had it all – three lively children, a beautiful house in the countryside and holidays abroad several times a year. But to finance this, we both had to work in the city, commuting 3-4 hours a day, leaving the children in the care of a nanny.

When we were home, most of our time was spent organising the family for the coming week. We were exhausted by the constant pressures of workload and deadlines – all to maintain our ‘perfect lifestyle’.

So, after a lot of deliberation, we both negotiated to work just 4 days a week – one of them flexible working from home. The house was sold and we downsized to something smaller less than an hour from our offices.

We now have more time for the children and each other. We’re less stressed, have greater control over our lives and a healthier work-life balance.

Speaker 2

We were living in a tiny apartment in New York City with our three-year old when I discovered that baby number 2 was on the way. There was no way we could afford to buy anything bigger, despite the fact we were both working all hours bringing work home in the evenings and on the weekend. We were both in danger of becoming workaholics.

It was time for a complete change. So, we sold the apartment and brought a small run-down chateau in the middle of the French countryside. It took a lot of time and effort to renovate it – complicated by the fact that I was pregnant!

Once again, we were working during the evenings and weekends – but we enjoyed learning new skills together and were motivated by having a common goal.

Today our chateau is a successful business – hosting weddings and corporate events. We still work long hours but the quality of life for us and our children make it all worthwhile.

Key expressions

  1. I am feeling the pressure from my workload and deadlines.
  2. It is not easy commuting from the suburbs into the city centre.
  3. They accepted my request for flexible working.
  4. I don’t enjoy bringing work home in the evenings.
  5. My wife is a workaholic.
  6. I am motivated to learn new skills.
  7. Working at weekends leads to a lower quality of life.
  8. We all need a healthier work-life balance.

Listen and repeat

Listen to and then repeat the key expressions. Focus on:

  • pronunciation
  • intonation
  • the rhythm of the language

Each expression will be said twice.


1. My husband is always at work, I think he is _________ .
2. A good _________ balance leads to happier lives.
3. _________ to work at 8am is not enjoyable.
4. My company offers _________ working to reduce stress and increase productivity.
5. I have a very heavy _________ at the moment.
6. Working four days per week has improved my _________ of life.
7. It's difficult to meet my _________ every month.
8. Thanks to the changes, I am much more _________ now.



Ces ressources sont disponibles que pour nos membres. Contactez-nous, si vous-êtes intéressé par un accès complet.