Which do you strive for – a work-life balance with distinct boundaries between work and life OR work-life integration that purposefully melds it all together?
Were it possible to create a perfect equation of work and personal time – and sustain it – then work-life balance would get the nod. Achieving a hardline separation, while doing justice to both, is indeed a worthy goal, but it’s also a tall, tall order. And maintaining that clear line for the long run? Next to impossible.
Employees long for happiness and contentment on both fronts. Why wouldn’t they? And employers desire the same for their workers because a satisfied, engaged workforce will get the job done right.
It seems any strategy designed to better the lives of management and staffers alike will pay dividends. After all, work takes up a chunk of our lives. A Harvard study found that 94 percent of people work more than 50 hours a week with almost half of them putting in more than 65 hours a week.
Although the work-life balance theory still pops up in headlines and water cooler discussions, other concepts are entering the conversation. Things like greater flexibility, energy management, and fulfillment. Because the ability to lead inspired, engaged lives across all facets – work, family, personal well-being – is the true goal.
David DeWolf shares a real-life, hands-on experience that exemplifies the essence of work-life integration.
“Last school year, I brought my three oldest kids (8, 7, and 5 at the time) to the office to experience what Daddy does every day. I made them dress appropriately, bring their school work and work diligently. I taught them how to interact with professionals and . . . That’s not balance – that’s integration!”
It’s no surprise that the most innovative companies have catapulted far above the idea of balance to allow the necessary options their engaged, industrious workers need to mesh work and life in a plan that fits their individual lives. The employee has some input as to when/where their tasks are accomplished – providing appropriate deadlines are met. The bottom line is that the job gets done.
Not such a novel concept considering the results of a time diary study of 1001 days in the lives of high-earning women and their families. A full 75 percent of the time, logs showed personal situations – family, school, health related and the like – happening during traditional work hours. On the flip-side, 77 percent revealed work outside the normal workday – making calls after their kids went to bed, writing reports on weekends.
Are late night calls or Saturday afternoons at the computer ideal? Probably not but if it gets mom and dad home for dinner with the kids, homework and bath time, it’s not such a bad trade-off. The only possible way some parents can work and tend to their family is to find a job that embraces work-life integration.
- Loehr Staffing understands the demands of life and family facing today’s workforce. We also appreciate how much our client companies need a qualified, productive workforce. Our staffing specialists work hard to provide top quality service, innovative solutions, and the perfect client /candidate match every time. Contact us today.