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Say Goodbye to Working 9-5 with Work-life Integration

  • 12th May'22

As the world slowly rises from the grips of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, organizations and people are learning what it means to integrate professional and personal life. Working 9 to 5, or even a pre-set five-day workweek, is no longer an option for many knowledge workers. Many organizations are now focusing on results rather than how much time it takes to achieve them.

Salespeople are probably aware of the concept: you're given a quota, a territory, and a time frame to meet your goals. It's less crucial how you do it. Employees in information-intensive businesses, such as technology and financial services, are now benefiting from the same principle. 

As a result, "work-life integration" is replacing the conventional concept of "work-life balance," whether you're working or participating in personal and social activities. According to the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, the latter is more about balancing job, family time, health and well-being, and community activity.

 

Some work, some home life

As more employees were obliged to work remotely over the last two years, the term "work-life integration" became popular among corporations and other groups. The US Veterans Administration, for example, has a portal dedicated to work-life integration tips and tools. Mozilla, a pioneer in open-source software, established itself as a remote firm from the outset 20 years ago, allowing staff to design work-life integration methods from the start.

 

Finding a balance

The difficulty is balancing how much control employees have over their workloads and schedules vs how much control the business has. Organizations, for example, may be confident in the long-term viability of hybrid work, or at least reluctantly so. 

According to IDC's survey, 45% of IT leaders believe hybrid models will become ingrained in work practices, while only 2% indicate they have no intentions to implement them. However, many people are still unsure what it means and who will decide how hybrid models will be implemented.

The 40-hour workweek and 9-to-5 workday have value because of their consistency, simplicity, and familiarity. The good news is that we now have the technology for job planning and administration that can accommodate increasingly complex work arrangements. OpenGrowth Hub, for example, is an outstanding project collaboration tool that aids in team transparency and productivity management.

 

Work-life integration and talent wars

Organizations are competing for talent, and candidates have more options and leverage than ever before. The major concern that Stephen Kohler, an executive coach, and team leadership trainer, hears from CEOs is their desperate need to locate talent and fill available roles, not COVID-19, supply chain woes, or inflation. To that end, firms must establish a compelling "employee value proposition," as opposed to the previous days when the opposite was the norm, according to Kohler, CEO of management consulting firm Audira Labs. "Work-life integration is a core feature of this," he stated.

According to Kohler, the strategy is built on three main pillars:

 

Profit-driven vs. purpose-driven 

Employees are more than ever looking for a compelling "why" from their employers. Long-term competitive advantage will go to organizations that clearly define and co-create their social values, mission, and vision with employees. Kind LLC, for example, is a well-known example of a company that prioritizes its people, the environment, and finally profits.


Within a framework, flexibility 

Employers used to place a premium on where and when people worked. Organizations must now focus more on outcomes (deliverables, milestones, new clients) and let people figure out the where and when as more employees choose to work remotely.

 

Connecting and co-creating 

One of the disadvantages of remote work is the lack of contact with coworkers, clients, and partners. Organizations must continue to provide both virtual and in-person chances for employees to connect in order to achieve this. Engaging through virtual team events (cooking classes) and in-person experiential activities are two examples. 

Workers will gravitate to organizations that provide them greater flexibility and liberty to work when and where they want, as long as they achieve company goals. Companies that can encourage work-life integration have a competitive advantage.

 

Success requires flexibility

In this era of the Great Resignation, organizations that do not provide such flexibility will have a tougher time hiring great people. Burnout is more common among employees who continue to work in hierarchical firms that do not provide upskilling, or flexible work arrangements. They're also less dedicated to their work, and the company will miss out on possibilities to innovate and foster a trusting atmosphere.
There will undoubtedly be blunders or errors because businesses are still learning what work-life integration entails. The good news is that most businesses can make mistakes as long as lines of communication are open, and company executives are willing to learn from their mistakes.

Employees should be allowed to ask questions and gain clarity on whether they will be held accountable without defined task-based milestones. The issue here is in providing flexibility without the ability to receive real-time guidance.

 

The challenges ahead

Companies should battle with how to maintain their "cultural glue," or their employees' emotional attachment and sense of belonging to a business, as they grapple with work-life integration. Some employees may like and even require more time in the workplace than others.
If compelled to work from home, for example, millennials may experience feelings of loneliness. Younger generations have a strong demand for social connection, which includes working in an office. We don't know where we'll wind up yet. A lot is riding on the results of these things. However, there is a great deal of experimenting.

 

Shellye is committed to helping people from diverse backgrounds achieve their careers and life aspirations. The content published above was made in collaboration with our members.

Shellye Archambeau is determined to help you with all possible strategies to climb the ladder of success. She values your feedback. Do mention them in the comment section below.

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