Work-life balance has been the trend for quite some time, but the future that we are heading towards demands something more fulfilling. It is this need of the day that has given birth to the concept of Work-Life Integration. It is the positive approach of this idea that has made it popular in India as well.
According to Microsoft’s Asia Workplace 2020 Study, innumerable Gen X and millennial employees in India are embracing digital workspaces, flexi workstyles including work-life integration (rather than work-life separation).
Focusing on bringing the several aspects of an employee’s life, such as work, family, personal wellbeing, and the community under the same roof, the concept of work-life integration believes in the holistic betterment of life.
Instead of compartmentalizing and working on each of the fields separately, this concept believes in erasing the boundaries and striving for overall fulfillment of all life-goals, leading to a happier workforce.
7 Tips for Work-Life Integration
1. Be self-aware
Each of us has different goals for our personal and professional lives, so, there is no one-size-fits-all plan. According to the “Four circles” (work, home, community, and self) exercise from the book Leading Your Life You Want: Skills For Integrating Work And Life, you can create a “four-way attention chart,” and your goal has to be a “four-way win” for each day.
You can do it with the help of the following steps:
Step 1: make sure that the goals you set in the four circles add up to 100%. Depending upon the importance of the task, you should be able to add or deduct value from each circle. Move these circles to make them more compatible, the closer and more overlapping the circles are, the more compatible they turn out to be.
Step 2: look at the four circles and rethink, can certain changes in these circles make them more compatible and help you integrate work and life better?
Step 3: once identified and altered, make sure, your goals help you achieve your ideal four circles. Make it a goal to resize these circles representing the four areas of your life to ensure more compatibility.
2. Make flexibility at work a priority
Having flexibility in the workplace and work schedules is important. Check whether your company has such a policy. If not, then make it a point to set aside time to meet with your manager and bring this up. Once approved, suggest a trial run for the same and ensure work does not suffer.
3. Take time off
To sustain high productivity, it is important to have a fresh mind. For that it is essential to take time off regularly. Various studies second that taking time off from work for a trip, to change your environment, or to simply relax results in a substantial improvement in productivity.
4. Take short breaks throughout the day
Make sure you break your work monotony by taking time away from your workstation. Such breaks are sure to make you more productive, happy and focused, in the long run.
Sometimes it is important to “hang your shoes outside” before entering the home. What the phrase means is to take a mental break from office worries, and work and focus on other things. If you are only thinking about work from dinner till breakfast, it is sure to lower your efficiency. Ensure you do not think about work all the time, to refresh and recharge your mind and body.
6. Notice the hours that you are most productive
Everyone works differently. You will notice that there are certain hours in the day when you are most attentive and focussed. Keep in mind those hours and get most of your work done during that time. Giving due importance to your body clock will help you make the most of your time.
7. Productivity is a priority, not the hours you put in
Measuring work through the number of hours put in, instead of productivity achieved is a flawed approach. Focus more on the value you are creating instead of increasing the number of hours you clock in. An example of a good approach is the one that entrepreneur Steve Olenski practices in his Two-Minute Rule. According to this rule, if you are reminded of a task that can be completed in two minutes or less, make sure to complete it immediately. This practice helps prevent a pile up at work.
As the work that we do evolves, so does the workplace and its policies. Even with all these changes, work-life integration will be the key factor in ensuring the wellbeing of both employees as well as the company.
FAQ on Work-Life Integration
Q:1 What is work-life integration, and how does it differ from work-life balance?
A: Work-life integration involves blending professional and personal life harmoniously, focusing on flexibility and efficiency. Unlike balance, it emphasizes synergy rather than strict separation.
Q:2 How can technology support work-life integration without causing burnout?
A: Leverage technology for remote work, flexible schedules, and collaboration tools. Set boundaries and use productivity apps to manage tasks, ensuring a healthy integration without overextending.
Q:3 What strategies can help maintain boundaries between work and personal life?
A: Establish designated workspaces, create a schedule, and communicate boundaries clearly. Turn off work-related notifications during personal time to foster a clear separation between the two spheres.
Q:4 Is work-life integration suitable for all professions and industries?
A: Yes, work-life integration is adaptable to various professions. It involves finding personalized solutions that align with job demands, allowing individuals to achieve professional success while meeting personal commitments.
Q:5 How can employers promote a culture of work-life integration in the workplace?
A: Employers can support work-life integration by offering flexible schedules, encouraging breaks, and promoting open communication. Emphasizing outcomes over hours contributes to a healthier work environment for employees.
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