Work-life balance is a concept that’s been around for some time. It revolves around the idea of reaching a healthy balance by separating work and personal life, into two well-defined schedules.
Nevertheless, the concept seems to imply that work is somehow removed from our daily lives, as a sort of separate entity, if you will. That could be considered more like wishful thinking, than anything else, since work is a defining characteristic of life.
What’s more, given the ever-increasing digital nature of the world today, it’s becoming a challenge to separate one’s personal life from work, and vice-versa. Emails, online calls, and social media follow us everywhere, after all.
A new concept, however, – work-life integration – seems to be taking its place. While its end goal is the same as its predecessor, it is a more fitting and realistic approach to how the world looks and behaves today.
What is Work-Life Integration?
The work-life balance concept is strongly linked to the 9-to-5 schedule of work. To achieve this balance, you have to give 100% while at work, do your job and remain focused. But once you’re out the door, your time is your own – no interruptions, no work-related activities, just fun, and relaxation. Trying to keep this balance and making it work over the long-run is becoming increasingly hard, however.
Work-life integration, on the other hand, works around the issues above, allowing people more flexibility to prioritize and integrate work and leisure as they see fit. Statistics show that over half of employees check their work emails when they are on vacation, and 26% even respond. Likewise, half of the employees believe that the traditional working schedule is obsolete, while 44% say that they should have the freedom to define the time when they should be working.
Work-life integration is about mixing work and leisure throughout the day, to be able to attend or do things that would otherwise be impossible under a strict 9-to-5 schedule. And as long as the work is being done, everything will be fine.
The Benefits of Work-Life Integration
Clinical Psychologist Maria Sirois believes that work-life integration can result in less overall stress, offering a higher sense of fulfillment, both at work and outside it. Employees who experience less stress are more engaged with their work, have higher morale, and are more productive overall.
Working families stand the most to gain from work-life integration. Strict working schedules, like the all-too-common 9-to-5, were reported to generate conflicts between job and family responsibilities on average of two or three times per week. Nearly 40% of women have also delayed having children because of it. So, rather than having to miss your child’s music recital because you’re at work until 5, with the work-life integration, you can do both by exchanging the time when you do them.
The need for flexibility is more important now than ever. While the concept of a work-life balance is no longer possible or desirable for many of us, work-life integration can make more sense in this digital world. It will enable you to complete all of your work duties, without having to sacrifice or lose sight of personal fulfillment. If you want to learn more about work-life integration and other healthy lifestyle choices, join us at the Women’s Self Care Conference on October 20, 2018.