Working to live, living to work, or balancing them?
Abstract: Early career people are under represented when it comes to understanding their experiences with work-life balance. Graduate programmes in Sweden are an incubator for recent university graduates to enter the workforce and accelerate their careers. Combining those two aspects, this study aims to explore and understand if work-life balance is present and important to early career people enrolled in graduate programmes while working in Sweden. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven participants enrolled in graduate programmes at well-known companies in Sweden. A thematic analysis was completed to extract the central and subthemes present in their answers. Our analysis showed that perception of work-life balance differed depending on the individual, managers actions towards work-life balance were more influential than their words, work-related stress is prominent, and the social environment with co-workers is the driving force of work motivation in the participants. Additionally, due to the Covid-19 pandemic occurring in 2020, our analysis uncovered new insights into what potential future work-life balance could look like as the participants experienced a dramatic change in their work routine having to abruptly adapt to working from home. Our results highlight the experiences of early career people working in Sweden, outlining how they value and achieve work-life balance while enrolled in a graduate programme. These findings can be used by organizations, managers and future work-life balance researchers to comprehend the importance of early career people’s perception surrounding work-life balance.
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