What it is:
Work-life balance is being able to balance your home life with your work life. You work reasonable hours and are also able to enjoy a robust home life.
Work-life integration is not as black and white–it’s where work life and home life overlap and integrate. Work-life integration means checking emails during your child’s soccer game, finishing up a proposal in the middle of your vacation, or finalizing a sales presentation right before you go to bed. It’s being able to browse social media in between meetings, leaving early to attend a yoga class on Mondays, or volunteering at your child’s school on Thursday mornings. You have both work and personal apps on your phone. Work-life integration means work and life are interchangeable throughout the day, understanding that both work life and personal life are important, integrated parts of an individual’s whole life.
The idea of work-life integration has become increasingly popular with younger generations and working parents. A Glassdoor survey found 87% of employees expect their employers to support a balance between their work and personal lives.
“The challenge of work-life balance is without question one of the most significant struggles faced by modern man.”
How it impacts culture:
Work-life integration improves employee wellbeing and engagement by lowering stress, and may even promote more innovation, as many people do their best thinking and work away from the office. It creates a culture that shows the organization values and cares for its people beyond as just a means of production, but also as individuals. Studies have shown that, particularly for millennials and working parents, flexibility is more important than salary when employees consider potential jobs.
How to do it well:
Organizations should allow flexibility as far as when, where, and how employees do their work:
1) Create policies that allow flexibility in employee work schedules. Not every job role can accommodate this, but when possible, allow employees to choose to what degree they want to integrate their work and personal lives.
2) Provide technology to allow for work-life integration. Have messaging apps, teleconferencing tools, and shared online workspaces available to make it easier for employees to work from anywhere, anytime.
3) Prioritize connection. While employees may choose to do much of their work outside the office, be sure to provide space and time at work for in-person interactions and socialization. Have ways to communicate important information to all employees, whether they are physically in the office at a particular time or not. And don’t forget about remote employees when having special events or projects at work.
Check out our 5 Culture Trends for 2021 and see how you can be prepared to help your employees thrive, no matter what new challenges may come their way.
“We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.”
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