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Shifty—Toppling age-old beliefs about a work-life balancing act

Shifty—Toppling age-old beliefs about a work-life balancing act

If only more can let go of the greed and focus on what really makes work satisfying, just maybe we’ll have six-hour work days for the rest of the year.

August 8, 2011 2:07 by

Kipp’s had a few conversations this week that somehow circled around one issue: work-life balance.

Yes, that aspiration of every nine-to-fiver to have as much of a social life as the number of hours they are chained to their desk.

One of the discussions Kipp had was brought about by the shorter hours during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Hypothetically, everyone is working six hours this August. (We say hypothetically because we know some of us are not able to stick to that government law of six hours at the office during the month of fast…anyway that’s another topic all together.)


So this six-hour work day is allowing a few of Kipp’s colleagues to spend more time being socially productive. For those with kids, they have more time to be fun parental units. For those who don’t have offspring, some have used the extra time finally go to the gym or do a few laps at the pool while some found the time to even renovate their house!

The extra time has been useful for these colleagues to create a more rounded social and work life, as we’re sure you’ve found for yourself.

So here’s what we’re thinking: why do we all choose to go back to the fast-paced madness that is the 9-5 (usually more), 5-day-week grind? What’s our justification for devoting 70 percent of every week of our able-bodied life to work? It pays the bills, you’ll say. It pays the rent and it pays all the extravagance you’ll ever need, some of you will chime in.

But does it really? We conducted a survey which is due to come out next week about money saving in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and we found that 1 out of 4 people don’t have any savings at all after having paid housing and living expenses and paying part of their loans and debts.


Our soon-to-be-launched infographic is further validated by the disconcerting results of’s recent survey that showed most in the MENA region will be working well into their silver years—mostly because right now, more than 40% don’t have any kind of savings let alone something to set aside for retirement.

So, we’re working to pay off these debts and paying for the basics…in Kipp’s upcoming Money Saving article, you’ll see that this is true at any income bracket. We’re really just earning to either pay for a lifestyle we thought we wanted or to pay the debt to get the lifestyle we thought we wanted.


But what if it wasn’t all about the money? We think the article in Gulf News this weekend that talks about work-life balance among women is too restrictive. While it did mention paternity leave, matrimonial leave and alternative timings, it only did so in passing.

It just seemed like the focus was merely on giving time out of work for people who had ‘extraordinary circumstances’ like having a newborn or tending after an ill family member.

While giving benefits to working mothers is definitely a step forward in the region’s HR regulations, Kipp would like to think that it is entirely possible to make leaps and bounds in cultivating personal development beyond caring for the sick and the newly born as much as it has been possible that this region has seen…

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