General Article We ask the experts: are we working too hard?

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With rising competition for jobs, and increasing pressure to excel in the workplace, a healthy work–life balance is hard to achieve. The technology we invented to make our lives run smoother means that we seldom switch off. Could we do things differently?

Our work (or lack of it) defines us.  Many people with jobs spend more time with their work colleagues than with their families. Employment offers us the means to enjoy life outside work but it also constrains us, eating into our time and energy. As austerity bites deeper, competition for jobs has risen to epic proportions: there is currently an average of 18 applicants for every job in the UK (, and an average of 85 applications for graduate positions (Association of Graduate Recruiters). The pressure to succeed in the workplace has resulted in a culture of long hours that doesn’t always add to productivity and inevitably damages family life. At Cambridge University, work-related topics are studied from a range of p...

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