Recently, experts and professionals have been sporting a new term for the wants of today’s workforce: work-life integration. This new phrase is meant to blur the lines between the separation of work and personal life in the hopes of creating more cohesive living.
But despite the endless excitement around work-life integration, the tried and true work-life balance may, in fact, remain a stronger solution for the majority of today’s workers.
What Is Work-Life Balance?
Work-life balance is a dichotomist concept originating around the mid-1800s, when an American journalist Paul Krassner defined happiness as combining work and leisure. The term “work-life balance” was not used explicitly until the 1970s in the UK and 1986 in the U.S.
It’s a concept that says, in its most basic form, that workers want to have a full and harmonious life. They want to “have it all”—the great job, the great family, the great health, and the great social life. They want to have a congruent balance between work and life.
Work-life balance can be defined in a number of ways. It can be that people should spend equal amounts of time at work and at home, that work and life are of equal importance, or that harmony in life comes from reaping professional rewards of in your personal life and vice versa.
Concerns with the term work-life balance come simply with the use of the word “balance.” To some, this word assumes that there is a strict difference between work and life. This diction brings to mind the idea of a juggling act or a server trying to balance twenty plates on a single tray. Oftentimes, work-life balance spurs a mental image of a person with octopus hands.
And that’s where business experts jumped off to create work-life integration.
What Is Work-Life Integration?
Today’s workers, especially Gen Y and Millenials, are motivated by passion and meaningful jobs. They want to know that their work is making a difference in some way. They want to feel excited to go to work in the morning, and they’re even more energized when they leave at night.
This spurs the first definition of work-life integration. Workers want to integrate their excitement for life into their work. They don’t want to see work as a separate entity from their “fun” and “social” life. They want work to seamlessly fit into their personal values and passions.
Thus, companies have responded to and optimized on this desire by focusing on culture and organizational vision. Candidates can then look for a company whose mission aligns with their own personal values.
The second definition of work-life integration stems from modern advancements in technology. Today’s tech has made it possible for individuals to work anytime, any place. This flexible type of work has further blurred the lines between the professional and personal spheres. Many experts discuss work-life integration in terms of literal integration of work into the home life, meaning that individuals can work from home, telecommute, or have more flexible schedules overall.
Now, workers can intertwine various areas of their life by leveraging technology like Forge.
Work-Life Balance Or Work-Life Integration?
A plethora of recent articles will tell you that work-life integration is the new sheriff in town. While that’s true in some regard, it’s not necessarily that black and white.
At Forge, we tend to talk heavily about work-life balance. This is because we believe that you can have it all by learning how to properly manage your time and command all areas of your life. We created our software to give you that control over your schedule and your work-life balance.
To us, work-life integration seems to neglect the vast majority of Americans who don’t have the ability to work wherever they want, whenever they want.
With regards to the first definition, many of us don’t live out our passions in the day-to-day. Sometimes there are more pressing financial needs or you just don’t know what your passion is yet. You don’t necessarily need to find an organization that directly aligns with your values in order to live a happy and full life. Even if you’re working at a job that isn’t your dream job, you still deserve to have that work-life balance.
Secondly, how many of your passions allow for you to work from home? A chef may love his job, but he can’t cook from home and send the food via email. A kindergarten teacher loves working with kids, but she can’t telecommute every day or she would lose their attention. A nurse can’t care for a trauma patient from the comfort of her couch. This second definition of work-life integration simply isn’t possible for a number of passion-worthy jobs.
Choosing Your Work-Life
The idea of work-life integration is strong. Love your job, be passionate, and stay motivated. Don’t spend your life at work. Don’t overstress.
You don’t need to burn the candle at both ends in order to “have it all.”
We believe that work-life integration doesn’t need to mean working from home. But you can still leverage technology to have a strong work-life balance. Forge lets you schedule your work around your life, so you can host the work-life balance that works best for you.
Stop searching for work-life balance. Find a job that will make you motivated and passionate. Find a job that fits in with your personal schedule. You can finally “have it all”.
Sign up for a Team Member account here to unlock your ultimate work-life balance today.
Image Sources: http://organizeforsuccess.blogspot.com/2015/08/10-easy-ways-to-boost-your-productivity.html http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/worklife-integration-beats-worklife-balance