Achieving Work/Life Balance Takes Work

Erika Stevens

Clinical Researcher—September 2021 (Volume 35, Issue 7)


Erika Stevens, MA, 2021 Chair of the Association Board of Trustees for ACRP


Does flexibility in work enable balance across one’s whole life?

While the idea and application of workplace flexibility has existed since the early 2000s,{1} remote work presents new challenges to the clinical research industry.

Flexible work and alternative work schedules evolved to provide solutions for work/life conflicts. Promoting flexible office hours, summer Fridays off, and hybrid “real” office/home office schedules is touted as supporting employees. Nonetheless, the shift to remote work, while seemingly supportive of flextime, presents an entirely new set of challenges.

Working from one’s home/home office erases commute time, changes the dress code, and may reduce associated work expenses. However, remote work demands increased response time, creates screen fatigue, and limits bio-breaks. Juggling virtual meetings and expectations of immediate response may result in lack of personal balance.

The clinical research industry has faced additional challenges to maintain its operations and shift its methods for conducting work during the pandemic. Redefining the operations of work continues and requires adaptability. For example, in the clinical research workforce, we experienced an uptick in decentralized clinical trials and remote data review. While this agility facilitated the continuation of important studies, finding balance in remote work is challenging.

Suggestions for control of your time when working at home: Limit your liquid intake, mute those microphones/headsets, take breaks, and block out the time you need for critical tasks.

I wish you all the best jusqu’a la prochaine fois (until the next time),


  1. Hill E, et al. 2008. Defining and conceptualizing workplace flexibility. Community, Work & Family 11(2):149–63.