Work-life balance is an allegory and endeavoring, for this concocted balance produces needless stress. There is always a distressing feeling that regardless of what you are doing, you should be doing something else. But the fact is that when people say that they want a work-life balance, what they really mean is that they just want to work less. In a previous article, we looked at how work may be crippling your personal life and how stock traders can strike a balance between their professions and personal lives. Work-life balance has never been feasible, and it definitely isn’t now that so many people have been forced to work from home due to the pandemic. Today, we are all tied to our devices, which ensures that work never leaves our side.
Can We Separate Work From Personal Lives?
The truth is that work can never be separated from life- it is just a part of your everyday living, and a significant part of your life. Work is what allows all of us to support ourselves, our families and accomplish our objectives in life. If you want a work-life balance, then you have to first understand that these two concepts are directly connected. Thus, you have to find ways to integrate the two such that none is ignored because of the other.
What Is Work-Life Balance Integration?
For a very long time now, the question for all of us was the one of work-life balance. This inferred that even if the line between work and life was becoming somewhat blurry, there was still a line. On one side was your work and on the other was your personal life. The challenge was to balance them on that blurry line so that things were agreeable. Work-life integration is however different. Here, there are no blurry lines!
Rather than managing personal errands and needs that are outside of work, they blend into the workday and vice versa. Exercise after work? not any more. Now you are doing it during your lunch break or even in the middle of the workday. Work meeting in the evening? No problem.
According to a survey, 92% of the respondents agreed to this worldwide trend of work-life integration. This integration is largely being fueled by the internet, mobile technology, video conferencing, and email communications that allow people to work virtually anywhere with connectivity.
Why Should You Care?
Work-life balance is about harmonizing these two separate entities. On the other hand, work-life integration is all about finding a way to mix both personal life and professional life together. This is what so many organizations are advocating for and a good case to mention is the Women Acquiring Assets (WAA).
WAA is an educational platform created by women for women via a collaborative partnership between Equity Movement Enterprises (EME) and Women Inflection Point (WIP). Both these organizations have just one mission: to help women reach not only their financial goals but also excel in all other human wellness areas as well as to live a complete and fulfilled lifestyle all around.
According to Julius L. Cartwright, the founder of EME, “ The organic and holistic approach to assist individuals successfully integrate work and life necessitates that all aspects are strong in a persons’ life. They should be made strong emotionally, financially, socially, mentally and all that.” This is what encouraged Mr. Cartwright to start the Equity Movement. He decided to create this organization to engage, educate, empower, and successfully direct women of all nationalities in their pursuit of financial excellence.
But financial independence and wellness isn’t the only thing that’s needed for growth in work-life balance and integration. Renee C. Wilson, the Founder of WIP, believes in the power of emotional intelligence and mental health/wellbeing when it comes to work-life balance and integration. She started WIP as a non-profit educational and result-driven platform that supports women in creating their success path to achieve positive and dramatic change in attaining their desired wealth-based lifestyle organically.
WIP’s three focal points are based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Basic Human Needs; Physiological (wellness), Safety (Real Estate/Finance), and Self Actualization (Full Potential) AKA, Your health, Your Money and Your Self. According to Wilson, Women should be inspired to pursue higher, deeper thinking, which in turn, propels them from merely existing and just simply surviving to fulfill their dreams and aspirations.”
Did you know that nearly 30% of employees continue to think about work-related issues away from their work? so how can women today integrate work and life without losing themselves (or their sanity) in the process? Here are a few actionable tips;
Work Around Your Schedule, Not A 9-5
Working a 40 or 50-hour workweek has always been considered normal, but what’s different now is that there is an increasing number of circumstances where you do not have to squeeze all those working hours into the customary 9-5 workday. Having fewer time restraints produces more flexibility around when and where you can work from.
If you are fortunate enough to own your schedule or have flexibility built into your office. You no longer have to leave work to go live life. At present, the majority of us have the possibility to bring our work with us when we need to deal with personal matters. This might mean sending a few emails while you are waiting for a doctor’s appointment or working a little late into the night to compensate for that hour you took off at lunchtime to fit in a workout.
- Look For Flexible Employers
If you are looking for a work-life balance or work-life integration, every so often that means taking time off in the middle of the day to take your children to the medic or see your trainer. Communicating with your boss about your personal needs, and how to best address those along with your jobs, is critical with regard to work-life integration.
An office that does not support the needs of its workers to have flexibility may not be a good fit, so you should get a better understanding of a business’s corporate culture before considering a prospective job opening. A good question to ask is how often people bring their children into the workplace. If they look at you like you’re silly, you may want to look somewhere else for work.
- Set Clear Expectations With Family
Did you know, 26% of work is done outside of normal working hours? Occasionally, you may have to work during dinner, and that’s acceptable if it’s not the norm every night. Describe your work to your family and how giving up a little time with you now means you can volunteer at their school this week. Bringing your children into the office sometimes also helps give them a little more perspective.
Involve them in helping you in some way so they do not feel left out. It is tough to find ways a kindergartener can revise a marketing proposal, but your spouse would perhaps be great at it. Handling expectations upfront is crucial to constructing this kind of flexibility on the home front.
- Include a Vacation on Business Trip
Vacation is no longer a consecrated place like it used to be. This means your work and vacation can all assimilate a little more organically. For instance, if you have a work seminar coming up, see it as a great chance to take a quick vacation afterward. Likewise, you can hold company off-sites with staff during your vacations when you are traveling nearby. It is a good idea to get everybody together since your schedules are already open, and some of your best work can come out of these off-sites. Without the disruption of meetings, you can be more inventive, prolific, and attentive.
However, there’s one major exception: if you’re feeling burnout and really need a work-free mental health break, take one and do not feel ashamed about it.
- Make It A Family Affair
Think about involving colleagues as well as their families. For example, if you are having a work dinner with fellow employees, you can also invite their whole family and get a babysitter to entertain the little ones while the adults work their spreadsheets. Or just cave and give the children iPads or toys so that you can talk about work in peace.
At times it may be a little unexciting for your partner to come to a work dinner, but the good thing is that they get to be involved in what you do. Likewise, if you have to do work on the weekends, it would be a lot easier if you invite coworkers over with their families. It is a win-win as families don’t feel like they always take a backseat to work and employees don’t feel guilty for leaving them behind.
- Make Time For Quality Time
For a successful work-life balance and work-life integration, the balance that you need to get right is not to assimilate them so much that people you really care about never feel like they have your undivided attention. When it is time to engage, put your phone away, and engage exclusively. A few minutes of quality time is a hundred times better than hours of “mom’s always on the phone” time.
Work-life integration originates from modern developments in technology. Today’s tech has made it possible for us to work any time and at any place. Thi flexible type of work has further distorted the lines between professional and personal spheres, thus improving the work-life balance. Whether you are working from home, telecommuting, or having a more flexible schedule overall, you can use all these tips to intertwine various areas of your life without compromising the work-life balance.