• Question: is there a good work life balance as a scientist?

    Asked by band499bed to Sharron K, Paul, Michael S, Martin M, Mark, Estela GF, Erin P, Alexander DB on 20 Feb 2024. This question was also asked by axes1sap.
    • Photo: Erin Pallott

      Erin Pallott answered on 20 Feb 2024:

      It depends on what sort of role you do. Some research in academia (universities) can honestly be quite demanding, and make it hard to find a lot of free time if you want to make a lot of discoveries. Other science roles allow for a more strict 9-5 type schedule.
      I am doing a PhD and I make sure I’m strict on myself to not work into evenings and avoid weekends unless really necessary!

    • Photo: Martin McCoustra

      Martin McCoustra answered on 20 Feb 2024:

      I think so… I can set my own agenda and pursue my own interests. I can work from home or not if I like. I can trave to work with colleagues in other places in the UK and abroad. There aren’t that many jobs would given me that freedom to choose.

    • Photo: Paul Laurance-Young

      Paul Laurance-Young answered on 21 Feb 2024:

      Yes, but you have to work at it!

    • Photo: Estela Gonzalez Fernandez

      Estela Gonzalez Fernandez answered on 23 Feb 2024:

      In my opinion and from my experience over the years, you could get a good work life balance as a scientist. It needs you personal commitment to organise your work and your personal life, but also it will depend on your work environment, and how your manager handles the team and workload. Nowadays, many roles have flexible work, so you can work from home and only go to the office/lab when really necessary, for example.

    • Photo: Michael Schubert

      Michael Schubert answered on 26 Feb 2024:

      There can be!

      Some science jobs take a lot of work and time. When I was in graduate school, the types of experiments I did meant that I often had to spend long hours in the lab or come back in the evenings and on weekends. This might happen if you work with living things (because they may need to be looked after outside normal working hours), in the field or in unusual locations (because you often go on multi-day trips and don’t come home every night), or if the types of experiments you run have long timelines (for example, I used to start some machines running during my workday, but go in during the evening to stop them and collect my results).

      Other jobs don’t, though! Some science jobs are only (or mostly) during normal working hours. With my own work in science communication, I can choose my schedule and the types of work I do, so I have a lot of control over my work-life balance. It does mean you have to set boundaries, but that will be true in any job.

    • Photo: Alexander De Bruin

      Alexander De Bruin answered on 26 Feb 2024:

      I have a pretty good work/life balance, which is partly to do with the culture of my company where we are encouraged to be healthy and happy (and therefore more productive!). The balance was less good as a student and at university.

    • Photo: Mark Ridgill

      Mark Ridgill answered on 13 Mar 2024:

      It’s possible if you’re very organised

    • Photo: Sharron Kenny

      Sharron Kenny answered on 4 Apr 2024:

      yes but it depends on the company you work for as some labs are 24/7 ran on a shifts system so there are some nightshifts and weekend work. but the time off you receive does average out and if you do work that kind of job there is usually an extra shift allowance paid as compensation.

      there are that many science jobs out there and flexible working that if shifts didnt suit you. you could find a job that was just week days.