Work-Life Integration: The Best of Both Worlds
"A true balance between work and life comes with knowing that your life activities are integrated, not separated" – Michael Thomas Sunnarborg, Author, and Wellness Coach.
Work-life integration can seem like an almost impossible goal to achieve, especially if you are struggling to balance your workload with the demands of your personal life. But it does not have to be that way! This blog will cover some actionable insights for Work-life integration that you can follow to improve your work and home lives.
How to achieve Work-Life Integration?
Find your ideal work environment
Working for a company that promotes the importance of ‘Work-Life Integration’ is necessary for successful execution. Whether you are interested in a company that offers flexible hours, work-from-home options, or generous parental leave policies; you must consider a few factors when trying to find the right work environment. Here are some of those considerations:
Consult with current employees on how they balance their personal and professional lives
Check if your potential employer offers flex hours, telecommuting, and other family-friendly benefits
Read reviews on the web from past employees to know their feedback on the company's benefits and work culture
Focus on productivity, not on the number of hours
Working long hours does not necessarily mean you are being productive. Studies have shown that working beyond 50 hours per week can significantly decrease productivity per hour. On the other hand, working fewer hours but with a greater focus on the quality of work will lead to higher productivity levels and better Work-life integration.
Maintain a schedule
It is setting aside time for work and personal commitments and sticking to them. You first need to plan your personal and work-related tasks for the day. Then it would be best to decide how much time you will devote to each of them. Ensure to have a flexible approach as many things may come announced.
Take advantage of the flexibility
Many companies offer flexibility, whether working from home a few days a week or flexible hours. If you can work remotely at least one day per week, consider using that time to care for your kids, cook dinner at night, or catch up on some quick errands.
Follow your passions alongside
Everybody has a few things they engage in to unwind, relax, and bring themselves joy. With Work-life balance, it may become difficult to accommodate those in your schedule; however, that is not the case with Work-life integration. This is a significant factor in the Work-life balance vs. Work-life integration debate. Work and life integration enable you to take a break from work and do what you enjoy! When you do what you love, you have a more fulfilling life. As a result, you perform better even at the work front. Looks like a win-win, right?
Do not Be Afraid to Say No
Too often, we try to do everything to please our bosses. We end up spreading ourselves too thin and burning out, which reflects poorly on our personal lives. So, it is essential to say no to tasks if they are too demanding or fall outside your job responsibilities. That way, you will have space for your activities too.
Take Short Breaks Throughout the Day
Taking short breaks between tasks helps you stay focused at work and avoid burnout. Plus, it gives you time to relax and recharge to be your best self at work and home. Based on findings from this recent study, spending just 29 minutes outdoors can increase your productivity by 45%.
But why is there a need to make efforts to implement Work-Life Integration? Is it worth it? Can we sum up all the most beneficial elements of it for employees? Let us do that in the paragraph below.
Pros of Work-Life Integration
Some of the top benefits of choosing Work-life integration are:
It allows you to have a more flexible schedule. It helps when you are a parent or have multiple personal tasks throughout the day
You can work according to your lifestyle instead of the other way around
You can take advantage of technology to work from anywhere. Zoom calls and video conferencing have made it easy to communicate remotely
You can better manage your time and energy. If you are someone who finds it exhausting to work long hours without any breaks, it is a boon
Work-life integration can lead to a more fulfilling and successful career
Examples of Companies Acing Work-Life Integration
In today's competitive job market, companies that understand the importance of Work-life integration and make initiatives for the same stand out from their competitors. Some top companies' implementing it include:
Buffer – 4-day work week, remote work, asynchronous, unlimited PTO
Microsoft – offers a four-day work week, remote work, and paid sabbaticals
Shopify – allows 32 hours of work/week
Netflix – employees have unlimited vacation days
Zoom – offers a generous time off policy and excellent work culture
Another prominent example is the retail giant Target. One of their part-time workers said the management offered great flexibility with scheduling time-offs and desired hours. With a 'swap shift board,' it becomes easy for employees to take a day off if something urgent comes up. It can seem challenging to make this type of balance happen, but these top companies' Work-life integration strategies have proven to make it possible.
Also, Work-life integration is the future of talent acquisition!
Many candidates are now choosing who they work with based on these factors. Soon it will not be an optional but a mandatory offering for many companies or industries.
While Work-life balance is about achieving an equal split between time spent working and time spent outside work, Work-life integration is about melding the two together.
At Extentia, a Merkle company, we have always encouraged our teams to find the right balance and speak up if they need support. Our HR team also ensures that they are taking initiatives to promote mental health and work-life integration. They strive hard to listen carefully whether any employee is on the verge of burnout or if they need any external help. The management is fully aware of employees' challenges in the flexible or remote working pattern, and they suggest innovative ways to ease the struggle. We hope to see smoother and more examples of work-life integration around us in the coming years.
If you'd like to explore career opportunities at Extentia, check out our careers page here and stay tuned for the next blog on the best ways to achieve work-life integration.
Read other Extentia Blog posts here!