Dr Austin Tay


As I sit in a modern cafe thinking about what I need to be writing this week, I am fascinated with the number of people working in the cafe. You will see most working frantically on their laptops (like I do), some having livid conversations in various languages (French – predominantly as the cafe is near to an enclave which is now populated by French Expats) and some just focusing on their mobile devices (laptops and phones).


This makes me wonder, is this what we call work life balance? That is having the choice of working at your own time and own space, not in the confines of a traditional walled up office. I read an article a while ago that working in cafe fuels creativity… Perhaps organisations are realizing that having their employees working away from their desks is the way to go. But scanning the people again in this cafe, they do not seem to be your ‘traditional’ employees, I suspect that they are people, like myself, working for themselves or plainly just hanging out in the cafe. This I cannot confirm with precision unless I personally interview all of them, which I believe will look peculiar.


This does bring to mind with all the hype about work life balance that organisations are ‘promoting’ and tons of research on why it is important to have work life balance (especially in HK, a city with more people working non stop than their European counterparts), do freelancers or people who work for themselves have more control in this area? Personally, I, sometimes, feel that I have too much time on my hand and that I need to channel my energy to do something useful. Of course, upon reflection, sometimes I feel that,  the mere reason why I have decided to return to my own consultancy again is because I want that control over how I work.


As I take another sip of my large black coffee feeling the tartness of the black beverage, I think, I have the better deal here compared to those working in the organisations as I have the ability to ensure that I keep a balance in the way I work and the way I enjoy myself…. another cup of coffee now seems so appropriate.

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