6 answers

Consulting Time Commitment

Asked Houston, Texas

I have always heard that consultants have to work long hours and don't have a good work life balance. Is this true? Does the firm that you work for have an impact on this? #consulting

6 answers

Cindy S’s Answer

Updated Boston, Massachusetts
My experience with work-life balance has been reasonable. There are weeks that are slower and you're able to work from home or spend Friday catching up with co-workers. Since we're working with clients, sometimes we'll be very busy and working late into the night to make sure we can deliver on a timely basis. That being said, I don't think there's an expectation to work late if there's nothing to do. It's more about maximizing time and results than just doing busy work. The clients I've worked with have noticed the nights that we send out late emails and been appreciative of the hard work. The company helps with work life balance because we get pretty generous time off (unlimited sick days, holidays including most of Christmas through New Year off, vacation, etc) which can help get people the time off that they need.

Felipe’s Answer


Hi there

I've been in the consulting business for 16 years, and definitely the time you spent working depends on you and the type of work you are doing, although in some cases also the company could impact this. When I've worked implementing security technologies I have had to spend night time working, but you can compensate your time normally, you have to negotiate that with your boss since the beginning of your employment, when you do business consulting such as defining processes or design a strategy this is done within business hours. Off course in any case sometimes when you have a milestone comming is probable that you will have to work a little more to complete your work, but this should not be permanently. The company I'm working for now, Symantec, and firms like PwC which I have worked for in the past, normally try to balance your work and life and give you extra vacation time to compensate the times when you have to work a little more than normal, and also normally they are more flexible due to they know you work is based on goals or objectives, so you can do your work at any time of the day as long as you send it on time. I definitely would recommend you to work as a consultant, you can manage your time as you need, you are well compensated normally, your job normally is different from day to day (different customers, different companies, different teammates...) is very nice!!!


Katherine (Katie)’s Answer

Updated Atlanta, Georgia
Yes, you can have long hours at times but I wouldn't say that's always the case. I agree that you need to prioritize having a work-life balance; certain firms do that more than others, so that's definitely something to try and get a grasp of while you're interviewing. It's also a good idea to talk to members of your team that may be more experienced than you about the ways they achieve work-life balance.

Rachel’s Answer


You will need to focus on stress and time management. In order to manage stress you have to manage your time wisely. <span style="background-color: transparent;">You have to set a routine for yourself and stick to it for the most part. Once you get into the groove of a routine it will be much easier for you to manage your time and have enough time for everything you need to do (including relaxing). Make yourself to-do lists on a weekly basis, use Google calendar or a planner to keep track of events, deadlines, and due dates. In addition to setting a routine and sticking to it, plan out relaxing activities into your day. Or set aside a time, after everything is done for the day, that you can have "me" time. I have also personally found it essential to not only find time for myself but also make use of that time in a way that is best for me and my holistic wellness. I have found the HeadSpace app to be an essential tool in helping me relax and generally feel more relaxed throughout the day, Guided meditation, even if you have a busy schedule, will make you feel more at ease and relaxed throughout the day as a whole (not just when you have the time to relax and focus on that "me" time).</span>

<span style="background-color: transparent;">Set a routine.Use Google Calendar.Set aside Me TimeWrite weekly to-do lists and use a planner.Find a peaceful and restful activity that will help you feel relaxed.</span>

Rebecca’s Answer

Updated Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

You have to make it a priority to have a good work/life balance and you should select a firm that also makes it a priority for their workers. As for long hours - it happens depending on the type of consulting you do and the phase of your project. Long hours occasionally can be an advantage if you can exchange them for a day off once in a while.

Good luck.

Brian’s Answer

Updated Atlanta, Georgia
It really depends. Factors such as the city you're working in, the firm you're working for, your project and what phase of your project you are currently in will all have an effect on how much time you spend each week in the office. I would say that typically you're looking at anywhere from 40-60 hr workweeks, with the exception being MBB firms where friends of mine consistently work 100 hrs/week. As for quality of life and work-life balance, a lot of this is up to you, but a good firm will do their best to help you out. Having good working relationships with your managers and other higher-ups that oversee staffing goes a long way as well. In many cases, if you're in a very stressful time at work and feel that you have too much on your plate or that you don't have time for your personal life, talking to your manager can be your best option. They have had the same issues as well in the past, and will do what they can to help you out and pull strings in order to make sure their people feel supported. Picking a firm that you feel will be supportive of you is very important as well. Firms show their support in different ways, from team events and happy hours, to pure compensation. It is up to you to find the combination of "perks" that you think will help your work-life balance the most. The firm I work for consistently holds happy hours and team events like kickball tournaments that help a lot when I'm feeling stressed. We also have a very flexible work arrangement and when I'm not traveling I find myself working from home more often than not, which has been great so far. I'd highly recommend you go into consulting, at least for your first year or two. I've had a great experience :)