Work-life integration is a trending topic nowadays. Not only is it taking center stage in the face of its predecessor, the work-life balance, but it’s also addressing some of the critical issues that have plagued the latter for so long.
To keep it brief, work-life balance attempts to establish harmony in someone’s life by setting a clear dividing line between work and personal time. In other words, you work eight continuous hours, you give it 100 percent, and when you’re out the door, you do the same with your personal life.
In theory, this makes complete sense, but when put in practice, things start to get a bit trickier. For starters, the 9-to-5 working schedule is no longer the norm for at least a quarter of employees, let alone managers. Secondly, with digital devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and laptops, it’s increasingly harder to make this clear divide.
Work-life integration, on the other hand, embraces these changes by going for a more flexible approach. One hour you could be working, the next you could be at the gym, the next 30 minutes would be spent on answering emails, and so on. For professionals, the ability to shape their personalized workday is ideal, while for families who have to juggle kids, elderly parents, and other household chores, the work-life integration model could allow them to do it all.
Nevertheless, some things can prevent you from reaching that harmony, as presented by work-life integration.
A Stiff Working Schedule
Working on a 9-to-5 schedule away from home can put a hamper on work-life integration. You can’t honestly be expected to operate continuously for eight hours and then add some extra work in the evenings, so you can say that you’re integrating the two.
If this is the case for you, and there’s no way to change that, the best course of action would be to take regular micro-breaks. Statistics have shown that productivity dramatically increases if you take regular 17-minute breaks every 52 minutes. You can use that time to unwind, take a walk, talk to coworkers, or do some light physical exercises. Do anything that gets you moving and away from your desk.
A Lack of Discipline
Even if the work-life integration concept goes hand in hand with flexibility, this doesn’t mean that you should let your guard down. If you don’t keep this flexibility in check by diligently planning your weekly schedule and then sticking to it, you may end up procrastinating or working much more than you should.
At first glance, work-related matters seem more urgent, and you may be tempted to prioritize it in favor of your friends, family, or your wellbeing. The same thing applies if you prioritize leisure in favor of work (Eh, I’m not in the mood. I’ll do it later.) What you need to do is remain committed to some boundaries, and know when it’s time to start and stop doing something.
It’s Not Something You Want
Everybody wants to have harmony in their life, that’s a given. But the definition of balance is different within every one of us. Though it may sound good on paper, a work-life integration model may not be the right fit for you. In the end, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to the issue, and everyone has to design the life schedule that fits them best.
All in all, work-life integration is a concept that stands for the 21st-century workforce. It takes into account the rise of technology and how it mixes our work and personal lives. It also addresses the growing trend of working remotely.
Nevertheless, it is not a full-proof system, and several pitfalls can prevent you from actually achieving it. If you want to learn more about attaining harmony in your life, feel free to visit our website or join us on October 20, 2018, at the Women’s Self Care Conference.