Work-Life Balance

If you had to prioritise in life, what would you put emphasis on?

The largest worldwide study of Millennials* (or Gen Y’s – those born in early 80’s or 90’s) has found that Millennials strive for “Work-Life Balance” – where there is enough leisure time for their private lives.  They want more time for themselves and space for their own self-expression – and they want it now.

When Millennials were asked “If you had to prioritise in life, what would you put emphasis on?spending time with family ranked among the highest of priorities in all regions, as did to grow and learn new things.  Interestingly, working for the betterment of society was not a priority for a majority of Millennials.

However, there is no suggestion that this desire to spend time in leisure activities and with family means that the Millennials are any less ambitious.  Respondents were attracted to managerial and leadership roles because of the link to high future earnings and to a lesser extent, the opportunity to influence the company.  (An aside – there is no replacement for having one-on-one conversations with your team members to find out what motivates them – making assumptions based on survey results can lead to a flawed model!)

This study has been undertaken when respondents were 20 – 30 and to some degree the responses are influenced by their environment and their circumstances at this time in their lives – it is not to say that priorities won’t change as they age.

While Work-Life Balance is an aspiration of the Millennial generation, the survey doesn’t shed any light on the ability of this generation to achieve what they desire and at the same time progress their careers or businesses.

Individually we are more likely to grow into our potential if our environment supports our values and beliefs and promotes high-energy thinking.  So if we desire Work-Life Balance and our environment enables that, then we are well positioned to play our biggest game – and to play that game now – not at some nebulous time in the future.

It appears to us, that Millennials (and many other generations) are Desperately Seeking: Work-Life Balance – a concept that is out-dated, and frankly unachievable.  We believe that Work-Life Balance in its pure form is a myth.  In fact the language (work-life balance) alone creates a block to a better way – if we think something is impossible then why even try!

At Opening Gates we believe that the new way of approaching this cross-generational, global dilemma, defined as “Work-Life Balance”, is INTENTIONAL IMBALANCE.

Intentional Imbalance

The key is to be intentional.  In order to be intentional you must know what a life well-lived looks like to you.  In order to live this life, you must be clear on what your intentions for you are around family, community, learning, health and so on, over your lifetime.  These intentions then become your points of reference in decision-making and critical to how powerfully you can direct your career or your business towards enabling you to live this life.

You don’t have to lose in life to win in business – in fact, winning in life and in business is a prerequisite for sustaining a vibrant, rewarding career and business.

When we get this right – when we design a business that enables the owners, the leaders, and the team to live intentional lives – we are positioned to prosper.

Learn more about achieving INTENTIONAL IMBALANCE:


* Refer to Harvard Business Review, “What Millennials Want from Work, Charted across the World” – by Henrik Bresman, referencing the survey conducted by INSEAD’s Emerging Markets Institute, Universum and the HEAD foundation and subsequent report “Millennials: Understanding a Misunderstood Generation”.

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