Tight on Achieving Work-Life Balance? It's Time to Switch to Work-Life Integration!
6 April 2023
Lately, the term "work-life balance" has become quite popular among workers. However, upon closer examination, work-life balance seems very complex, making it difficult to achieve in some cases. In fact, many people even say that work-life balance is just a myth. Why?
Here are some reasons why we struggle to achieve work-life balance.
Reasons Why It's Difficult to Achieve Work-Life Balance
1. Work is not a separate part of personal life
According to Marcus Buckingham in his book "Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader's Guide to the Real World," the term "balance" in work-life balance refers to a state where our lives are expected to be static and unchanging. This inadvertently suggests that work is something unpleasant, while personal life is a positive learning experience for personal growth.
This is why working is not the opposite of living. Working is actually part of life, just like family, friends, community, and hobbies. All of these aspects of life have beautiful moments that inspire us.
2. Work life and personal life are about boundaries, not balance
Work-life balance, as we often understand it, usually demands that people make sacrifices, sacrificing satisfaction in one or more aspects of their life to fulfill responsibilities in other aspects.
However, the healthiest way to achieve work-life balance is to set healthy boundaries. Boundaries allow us to integrate work and life and play different roles in our personal lives.
Therefore, determine what boundaries you want to apply in life. Understand that work and life are closely related, and companies need to design new ways for employees to be their best selves in each role.
Work-Life Integration: A New Solution to Achieving Job Satisfaction
Work-life integration can be a solution for those who find it difficult to achieve work-life balance. Work-life integration is about embracing the whole person in the workplace. We all want to be our true selves at work. There's no such thing as "work self" and "personal self."
This is where companies need to start understanding that they are responsible for facilitating an organizational culture that allows employees to be themselves in the workplace. As a result, employees will be able to have more positive experiences at work. In fact, it is not impossible that other aspects of their lives will also improve.
Benefits of Work-Life Integration
One of the main benefits of work-life integration is flexibility.
The flexibility provided by work-life integration allows employees to coordinate their schedules and responsibilities in a more productive way. Work-life integration allows employees to get things done when they need to, when they need it—regardless of whether and where it happens during the workday. Thus, it will help employees to manage their work responsibilities and life responsibilities without sacrificing one of them.
Another major benefit of work-life integration is having low levels of stress. The habit of working too much drains energy and thoughts, whereas working flexibly allows employees to socialize freely. Therefore, work-life integration is considered to be able to improve wellbeing because the level of employee stress is reduced.
How to Implement Work-Life Integration
1. Know what work-life integration means for you
Work-life integration will not look the same for everyone. So as an employee, you need to know exactly what this term means to you personally.
Will this give you more time to think creatively?
Will it reduce the stress you feel at work?
Will it help you better accompany or connect with friends or family members?
Therefore, get clarity about what you want to achieve from work-life integration.
2. Be conscious of yourself
You can develop a "four-way attention chart" using four circles for work, home, community, and yourself. This is a personal matter, and each person has a different proportion because everyone has different personal and professional goals. Make sure that the targets you set in the four circles add up to 100%.
You should be able to increase or decrease the value of each circle depending on the importance of the task. Move the circles closer and overlap more to make them more compatible; the closer and more overlapping the circles, the more suitable they are.
3. Set aside blocks of time for various tasks
Work life integration doesn't mean doing everything every day. Instead of letting your focus be divided in various ways at once, set aside specific blocks of time for the same responsibilities.
For example, set one block of time for checking and responding to emails, another for meetings, and another for completing tasks. When setting up these blocks, consider the times when you personally feel more productive, and use that period for tasks that require more creativity and energy.
You can also use productivity tricks like time management using the Pomodoro technique to work in short bursts and maintain focus.
So instead of struggling to achieve balance, why not try integrating personal and work life in a healthy way?
Train how to apply Work Life Integration healthily together with Mindtera
As an HR/leader, you can also make work life integration a win-win solution for working moms or anyone who wants to work more flexibly.
Because work life integration is a journey, and HR/leaders must take the initiative, companies must understand their culture and business needs as well as workforce to succeed. So let's start implementing work life integration in your workplace!
Some of the flagship group coaching topics that have been conducted by more than 100 employees include:
Work Life Integration
Handling Toxic People
and many more