It can be a challenge to find room for “me time” during a demanding work schedule. But Work Life balance is important, and striking of a perfect work-life balance used to be a common goal of many employees.
What’s more, the way employees look at Work life balance is changing. There is an evolution from Work life balance to Work life integration, many employees perceive work as one part of their experience, which is also what HR-ers are promoting. Which is better, work-life balance or work-life integration?
In this article, we will learn about the differences between Work Life Balance and Work Life Integration, whether Work Life Balance is important or not, and best tips for companies to create better work-life balance.
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What is Work Life Balance?
The definition and understanding of work-life balance have evolved over the past several years. Initially, work life balance was seen as a way of dividing one’s time and energy equally between work and personal life.
However, over time, it has become apparent that work-life balance is more than just time management, but also involves a holistic approach to a healthy balance between work and personal life, in other words, balancing the demands and priorities of work and well-being, while also taking care of one’s physical, emotional, and mental health.
Work-Life Balance vs Work Life Integration
Is work-life integration and work-life balance same? Work-life balance and work-life integration are two approaches to managing work and personal life demands and priorities. While they share some similarities, there are also significant differences between the two. To some, “Work life balance is important” is over, at the moment the work life integration is a trend. How did it happen?
When the rise of remote work and flexible work arrangements blurred traditional boundaries between work and personal life, achieving a perfect balance may not always be possible or practical. This has led to a shift towards the concept of work-life integration, where work and personal life are not necessarily viewed as distinct, but rather intertwined aspects of one’s overall life. The focus is now on finding a personalized balance that aligns with an individual’s values, goals, and priorities, rather than adhering to a one-size-fits-all approach.
Benefits of Work Life Balance
- Helps to prevent burnout and promotes well-being.
- Allows for more focused and productive work during working hours.
- Provides opportunities for personal growth and self-care.
- Helps to improve overall life satisfaction and fulfillment.
A work-life balance example could be a person who works a traditional 9-5 job and has established clear boundaries between their work and personal life. They might prioritize their personal time outside of work, scheduling activities like exercise, hobbies, and spending time with family and friends. They might also prioritize getting enough sleep and taking breaks throughout the workday to prevent burnout. In this example, work and personal life are clearly separated, with the individual dedicating specific time and attention to each aspect of their life.
Benefits of Work Life Integration
- Provides more flexibility and adaptability, allowing for greater balance.
- Helps to promote creativity and innovation by allowing for more overlap between personal and professional life.
- Enables individuals to better manage and prioritize responsibilities.
- May help to reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
A work-life integration example could be a person who works remotely and has a flexible schedule. This person might choose to start work early in the morning, take a break mid-day to exercise or run errands, and then finish up work later in the evening. They might also have the flexibility to attend a child’s school event or doctor’s appointment during the day, and then catch up on work later in the evening or over the weekend. In this example, work and personal life are integrated in a way that allows the individual to prioritize their personal responsibilities and still meet their work obligations.
How to find the best work-life balance for you?
The way each individual identifies “good life work balance” is different from another. Finding balance between work and personal life can become easier with some following tips:
Define your priorities
Start by identifying your priorities in both your work and personal life. What are the things that matter most to you? What activities or responsibilities do you need to prioritize to feel fulfilled and successful? Once you have a clear understanding of your priorities, you can start to make decisions and create a schedule that supports them.
Establish clear boundaries between your work and personal life. This might mean turning off your work email outside of business hours, or setting aside time each week for personal activities you enjoy. By setting boundaries, you can prevent work from taking over your personal life and vice versa.
Take care of yourself
Prioritize self-care activities like exercise, sleep, and relaxation. When you take care of yourself, you will have more energy and focus to dedicate to both work and personal activities.
Discuss work life balance with boss
Consider having a conversation with your employer and explain how work life balance is important to you. They may be able to provide you with resources like flexible scheduling or telecommuting that can help you achieve a better work-life balance.
Remember that achieving a perfect work-life balance is important but may not always be possible. Instead, focus on being flexible and adaptable to the changing demands of your work and personal life.
Implications for Company: 5 Tips for HR-ers
We have mentioned that rethinking the “work life balance is important” issue leads to adopting work life integration. However, work-life balance is still important. The question is how this significant change in viewpoint might impact HR leaders. The time seems right for HR professionals to ensure that your company values and supports well balanced work life.
Identify if employees are work life balance or integration
Work life balance is important but each employee recognizes it on a different level. For example, work life balance working mom may prioritize activities outside of work, such as family time, hobbies, or self-care, and aim to limit their work-related activities outside of working hours.
On the other hand, Gen Z employees might prefer work life integration compared to their previous generation. They may prefer their personal social media accounts as a method to promote their employer’s brand or products, in which their personal interests and hobbies with their professional work are blended.
Improve employee engagement and ensure work-life balance at the same time
Here are suggestions for work-life balance that the company can refer to:
Create a supportive culture
A healthy work-life balance starts with a supportive culture where employees feel valued and respected. HR-ers should encourage open communication and provide resources and support to employees struggling to balance work and personal responsibilities. HR professionals must prioritize employee engagement by providing regular feedback, recognition, and opportunities for growth and development.
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Implement effective performance management
Performance management is the process of setting expectations, assessing progress, and providing feedback to employees. HR professionals must implement an effective performance management system that aligns with the organization’s goals and supports employee growth and development.
Invest in learning and development
Investing in learning and development can help employees acquire new skills, improve performance, and increase job satisfaction. HR professionals must provide opportunities for employees to learn and develop their skills through training, coaching, and mentoring programs.
Remote training can be an effective resolve for improving work life balance and work-life integration. AhaSlides is a powerful tool that can be used to optimize remote/virtual training sessions. AhaSlides’ interactive Q&A sessions can help clarify any doubts that participants may have and ensure that they thoroughly understand the training material.
Encourage time off
As work life balance is important, it is essential to encourage employees to take time off to recharge and spend time with family and friends. HR-ers should ensure that employees take their allotted vacation time and encourage them to take mental health days when necessary.
Work fun balance
An essential aspect of maintaining a happy work environment is Work fun balance. It refers to the balance between work-related tasks and activities that are fun and enjoyable, and it can help to reduce stress and increase employee engagement.
Company outings are one way to promote fun work balance. These outings can range from team-building exercises to social events and can provide employees with a chance to relax and bond with their colleagues outside of the workplace.
Related: Company outings | 20 excellent ways to retreat your team (2023)
Work life balance is important and it is an undeniable idea. Companies need to understand how work life balance is important to each employee and have equal support to them.