Work-life integration is an approach that blends both personal and professional responsibilities. Work-life integration requires that personal and professional obligations be balanced in a way that benefits both.
Understanding work-life integration
The approach is a natural evolution of work-life balance which, for better or worse, has created a conflict between one’s personal and professional endeavors.
To create balance, work-life integration encourages the employee to create a timetable that satisfies both their own requirements and the requirements of the company.
One’s requirements encompass aspects such as family, community, and health that ultimately enable them to be more productive at work.
How can work-life integration be fostered?
Here are five steps to better integrate your personal and professional life:
- Define your specific vision – work-life integration is a broad approach, but everyone has unique circumstances based on their needs, personality, or position. Start by imagining your ideal week and go from there.
- Brainstorm the steps – what are your priorities and how will they be achieved? What support will be required to make your vision a reality?
- Create a weekly schedule – this means determining when you will work out, prep meals for dinner, spend time with family, or simply relax and recharge.
- Establish firm boundaries – to some extent, work-life integration blurs the boundaries between work and pleasure. Therefore, it’s important to be extra vigilant when you transition from one to the next. When your schedule says it is time to finish work, avoid the temptation to stay in the office. If an important call or meeting has to be scheduled, rejig the schedule to add extra downtime later in the week.
- Communication with your employer – if possible, have an honest discussion with your superior to determine how work-life integration can be mutually beneficial. If you’re in a management position and the company supports it, speak to subordinates about work-life integration and what it can do for them.
Work-life integration examples
To better understand the concept of work-life integration, let’s take a look at a few common scenarios and compare them to work-life balance.
The key point to remember is that work-life integration seeks to create flow by combining one’s personal and work life into one entity.
- Work-life integration – you exercise in the middle of the workday or schedule an active meeting where participants stand, walk, or work out while the meeting is conducted.
- Work-life balance – you wake up before sunrise to exercise at the gym before work.
- Work-life integration – you spend the first half of the day running errands, cleaning, and taking care of the kids while your partner works. In the afternoon, you switch places.
- Work-life balance – you and your partner take turns picking up the children from school based on your particular schedules for that week.
- Work-life integration – you take a laptop on a family vacation to do some work while the kids are asleep or otherwise occupied.
- Work-life balance – you work for five years straight without taking a proper vacation, cash in your vacation pay to unplug from work for a while, and then repeat the process.
- Work-life integration is an approach that blends both personal and professional responsibilities.
- Five steps to incorporating work-life integration include defining your specific vision, brainstorming the steps, creating a schedule, establishing firm boundaries, and communicating with the company or subordinates.
- The key point to remember about work-life integration is that it seeks to create flow by combining one’s personal and work life into one entity. Nevertheless, it is still important to ensure that leisure time is never sacrificed for work endeavors.
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