You finish dinner and then join a conference call with a co-worker in a different time zone. The next day, you wake up early for another cross-country collaboration, followed by taking that “Thank You” card to your friend that you’ve been putting off before getting back to work.
These are all examples of work-life integration.
You’ve probably already heard of work-life balance, but what is work-life integration? How can blurring the lines between work and life be useful for employees and businesses in today’s ever-increasing digital world? Let’s find out about what it really is and how you can implement it to increase flexibility and satisfaction with employees.
Work-life integration in a nutshell
In the digital world of today, following the effects of the pandemic, what we once called work-life balance is harder to come by. But, separating the boundaries between work and life has become even more difficult due to remote work.
The basic premise of work-life integration is to blend work responsibilities and what goes on in your life so that you can have more flexibility. As opposed to work-life balance, where the aim is to clearly separate the boundaries between a set span of working hours and the rest of your day.
By managing schedules and prioritising effectively, you can focus more on the results, and less on the time spent doing it. In fact, according to the Gartner 2021 Digital Worker Experience Survey, 43% of employees found their productivity increased with more flexibility in their work hours.
On top of that, having more flexible work-life integration allows you to accomplish things in your personal life when you need to. Need to take a break here to pick up your kids from school? No problem! Finish those emails when it works for you.
Implementing work-life integration successfully
An essential point to remember is that the goal isn’t for employees to blur the lines to the point of excess. Instead, the goal is to adapt to the realities of life and work to best fit each person’s style.
To start implementing work-life integration, employees can do various things:
- Establish your approach: Not everyone needs that much flexibility (or wants it). Determine what working style works best for you!
- Prioritise and Schedule: plan what needs to be done and when based on when you can be most productive.
- Maintain healthy boundaries: blending work and life too much can cause negative outcomes. Make sure to maintain a balance within your integration.
For employers, some of the best ways to support this are:
- Communicating with employees: Be flexible with employees to find out what schedules work best for the work that needs to be done and their personal lives.
- Focus on results: The classic 9-5 where you need to be in the office to get things done is gone for many. You might even see more productivity with more flexibility!
As we continue towards a digital and flexible world, workplaces must evolve with it. Is work-life integration the next step for your business productivity?