Work-life balance sounds great, doesn’t it?
After all, maintaining a proper work-life balance means work-related matters stay in the office without infringing on your personal life. There’s a clear distinction between the two, and time spent between them is “fair.”
But what if we told you that the better approach is to prioritize work-life integration?
Contrary to common belief, you cannot keep your work and life separate; most especially since most of us still work most days at home rather than working in the office. The only thing you can do to balance them out is to accept that your career is part of who you are.
After all, your hobbies and passions define who you are and the work you do. And that’s where work-life integration comes in.
What is Work-life Balance?
Maintaining a healthy equilibrium between your personal and professional life defines a work-life balance.
However, since the pandemic and with the rise of hybrid work setups, most of us have struggled to divert our attention because of pressing work deadlines and addressing family needs at home. So the truth is, living two separate lives is mathematically impossible — instead, what we need to achieve is a better sense of harmony.
The Wrong Assumption of Work-life Balance
Even though it’s necessary to set aside time to recharge, work-life balance makes the wrong assumption that we can categorize these two different worlds in such a way that they would never intersect.
On top of that, consider how technology makes us accessible to other people at all times. Social media platforms, online chats, emails, video calls, and other means of instant communication have made it difficult to completely separate work from our personal lives.
What is Work-life Integration?
Work-life integration involves blending your personal and professional time rather than treating work and life as separate entities. Integrating work with your hobbies and other recreational activities means coordinating time spent during an online conference and doing chores at home, for instance.
One of the most significant advantages of work-life integration is schedule flexibility. In particular, people can collaborate regardless of location, opening up more freelancing/telecommuting opportunities and flexible working arrangements.
Work-life Integration vs. Work-life Balance
The difference between work-life integration and work-life balance lies not in setting firm boundaries. If work-life balance implies treating work and life as separate, opposing entities, work-life integration aims to achieve a sense of harmony between personal life and career.
In fact, integrating your personal life with your career allows you to focus on one task at a time. But remember that entirely separating work and life could hold you back from achieving a sense of stability in both areas. So make sure you maintain flexibility to give equal attention to other responsibilities outside work.
Actionable Tips for Successful Work-life Integration
Poor work-life integration can take a serious toll on the mental health of your employees. If they feel unhappy about their work, it could affect their overall productivity.
We’ve also listed some tips on how HR teams can implement successful work and life integration in a hybrid or remote setup.
Organize Your Schedule
Encourage your employees to divide time spent on different tasks. Without a clear routine, they could easily cave in to burnout.
Try to maintain balance because being too organized in your approach could put too much pressure on them to quickly finish their deadlines. Good work-life integration happens when your employees know how to focus and distribute their time equally on different tasks.
Ensure Remote Accessibility
Hybrid setups and work–from-home arrangements allow employees to work remotely. They can track progress and seamlessly communicate with colleagues in real-time.
For HR teams, we recommend using cloud-based collaboration tools and APIs integration for smoother business ops and task delegation.
Encourage Pro-active Involvement in Decision-Making
Organization-wide decision-making used to rely solely on the upper management. Now, more and more companies are giving their employees a chance to speak up and voice their needs. Encouraging open comms within your team fosters a healthy and nurturing environment. It also gives employees assurance and freedom to actively participate and make suggestions to stakeholders.
Cultivate a Healthy & Empowered Culture
To maintain a positive attitude at work, don’t forget to recognize your employees' efforts and hard work. Remind yourself to regularly give praise or give out compliments to keep your team members motivated.
Another thing you can do to foster an empowered company culture is conduct employee wellness programs. Mental health is as important as physical health for your employees since it affects productivity and work satisfaction.
Set Attainable Goals
Align company objectives with work-life integration. Reassure your employees that their progress matters, no matter how small or insignificant their contributions may seem.
That being said, setting unattainable goals could only heighten the pressure and stress of your employees. Encourage them to reach for the stars, but not at the expense of sacrificing their personal life over their career.
Achieve Proper Work-Life Integration with Sprout
Overall, work-life integration benefits both employer and employee. Equally allotting time for personal and professional endeavors results in happy, more fulfilled employees.
Sprout’s Employee Wellness Programs can help you promote better work-life integration in your organization. It is made up of different services by licensed professionals, such as online counseling, webinars, coaching sessions, meditation, and yoga.