Many people have merged their work and home life in ways they never anticipated as a result of the introduction of remote work. On the bright side, many of us have developed closer relationships with our coworkers, as well as their pets, children, spouses, and home decor preferences. But severe burnout has also been brought on by working from home.
After all, it's impossible to attain work-life integration when there isn't even a figurative wall between the two. The good news is that some professionals believe you should give up trying.
Work-Life Balance Vs. Work-Life Integration
We frequently picture "work-life balance" as a struggle between personal and professional obligations. We may either lessen work-related stress so that we can prioritize our personal goals, or we can prioritize work above our personal needs. It's a dreadful, complex challenge.
But now for a good plot! There need not be a trade-off if we put more emphasis on "work-life integration," according to Stewart Friedman, professor at the Wharton School of Business. Finding creative ways to make the four facets of our lives, work, home, community, and self spirit cooperate constructively is the goal of work-life integration.
How Work-Life Integration works?
According to Friedman's research, you do better in all areas of your life when you integrate them. Additionally, you are happier with life in general. According to him, in order to make it work, you must:
Decide what is most important to you, and then deliberately define your priorities based on those principles. You are more inclined to defend what is most essential when you are deliberate about it. Recognize the interactions between the various aspects of your life. Get clear on who is most important to you in each element of your life, what you can provide those people, what you need from those people, and whether your priorities match each other. Experiment. Be prepared to collaborate with your family, colleagues, and community.
How can Employers help?
However, individuals cannot fully accomplish work-life integration (or balance) on their own. To develop new methods of cooperation, organizations must be receptive to working with talent. Fortunately, the COVID era has given firms considerable experience with flexibility, from enabling remote work and prioritizing workloads to encouraging time off and allowing employees to choose their own schedules.
Work and Personal Life need not be at odds
It's time to accept the new normal and embrace work-life integration. People and organizations need to develop solutions that work for everyone. In order to integrate family time into her hectic schedule as a busy executive, Margaret Keane had to get inventive, especially when her kids were teenagers. She discovered that driving her children to school every day was one strategy that worked exceptionally well. “That way, we had at least 20 minutes exclusively for us,” she recalls.
As the CEO of Connecticut-based Synchrony Financial, a platform for consumer financial services and a provider of credit cards, Keane tries her best to strike a balance between work and life but doesn't become frustrated with herself when she can't. “Those years taught me to tackle each work-life difficulty one at a time, and to stop putting so much pressure on myself to finish everything at once,” she says. And Keane is not the only one: It can be challenging for professionals to attain work-life balance in the so-called "always on" work culture, especially for women. But unlike Keane, a lot of these laborers are plagued by guilt about not succeeding in creating perfect harmony.
As more people admit the ideal of "balancing" may simply be an impossibility, the concept of "work-life integration" is currently gaining popularity. Elisa Steele, CEO of Namely, a New York-based human resources platform, claims that giving up on attaining "balance" is freeing. In reality, I felt like a perpetual failure as I constantly sought equilibrium. There is no ideal equilibrium; life is what it is. It is fluid, lively, and demanding while also being forgiving.”
The first step to achieving balance, according to Jae Ellard, author of the 2014 book “The Five Truths about Work-Life Balance,” is to define it for yourself. Her counsel is still applicable, even though the original concept of work-life balance has now evolved into talks of things like work-life integration or work-life harmony.
Businesses are starting to recognize their roles in fostering settings that support a successful work-life balance. This initiative is being led by Mathilde Collin, CEO of the shared inbox Front App and a former member of Forbes 30 Under 30. In an effort to make her staff more present at home and at work, she recently pushed them to remove any unused apps from their phones, including social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
There now seems to be a chance for people to refine what works for them without feeling as though they need to live up to a certain standard, established by someone else, since work-life balance is no longer the only way to define the successful management of professional and personal life.
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