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A question of work-life balance

THE BUSINESSMAN'S STORY

Name: Stephen Clarke. (left)

Job: Managing director of Truancy Call, a Birmingham-based company, since 2000. It provides technology which alerts parents if their children miss lessons.

Financial responsibility: A typical annual turnover of up to pound;2 million.

Employees: 14 staff.

Family: Married with an 18-month-old girl and a seven-year-old boy.

Official working day: 8.30am-6pm. "On a normal day I'll get about 200 emails. I'll be dealing with finance, marketing, customers, and other companies. I'm responsible for making the company profitable and keeping my team in employment."

Evenings: "I do check my work email at home sometimes, because I can read them off my phone."

Excessive stress? "There are stressful periods for any business, particularly one that is growing, but it has never caused me ill health."

Opportunities to work from home: "I divide my working time about 50-50 between the office and home. There is very little in my job that I cannot do from home."

Holidays: 25 days a year.

Biggest improvement to job would be: "More holidays."

Do you see your children as much as you like? "Getting to see them is one of the advantages of being able to work from home."

Does work ever leave you too tired for sex? "Er, no."

THE HEADTEACHER'S STORY

Name: Helen Clegg.(above)

Job: Head of Shiremoor primary in north Tyneside, since 1990. It has 400 pupils, and well above average levels of children who have special needs or are eligible for free meals.

Financial responsibility: An annual budget just over pound;1 million.

Employees: 30 staff including teachers and teaching assistants.

Family: Widowed with a 26-year-old daughter.

Official working day: 8am-6pm. "It's relentless. You deal with finance, health and safety, and professional development, then the main work of the school, such as the curriculum. My email is usually full of reports I have to read. Then there's Ofsted."

Evenings: "Most evenings I will read reports at home. The school is never out of my head."

Excessive stress? "I've never taken a day off because of stress, but work has completely taken over my life many times."

Opportunities to work from home: "As a rule it's important that I'm at the school. Luckily my office is quiet - I know some heads who have to work at home simply so they will not be disturbed."

Holidays: School closes for 64 days.

Biggest improvement to job would be: "Fewer initiatives."

Do you see your children as much as you like? "I was able to spend time with my daughter when she was growing up, but between that and school I had no social life."

Does work ever leave you too tired for sex? "I'm not going to answer that."

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