Work Life Balance has been a key concept in recent years, a goal for many.
Many managers and entrepreneurs have taken the path described by this concept, attempting a real balance between work and private life. The intent was to try to distribute the time equally between work and personal activities.
Currently, the concept of balance between work and private life is still very strong.
However, this concept is affected by the evolution of man and the new ways of working, in short, the new approaches to work.
Today, in fact, for many, the working day does not end when they leave the office.
The classic day, 8am – 5pm, begins to be surpassed by many organizations.
Work is transforming. It becomes less traditional and many offices evolve towards virtual spaces. You work more and more remotely in remote teams.
Hence the new concept of “Work Life Integration”, that is the integration between private life and working life.
The difference between the two concepts
The word “integration”, in the concept of Work Life Integration, defines a merger in a functioning or unified whole.
In this way, the integration of working life focuses on the incorporation of the different areas of one’s life in order to create a unique image.
The concept of Work Life Balance, on the other hand, means a balance, a uniform distribution between the two activities, in this case work and leisure time.
In this concept, work and private life are seen as two competing elements. They are essentially two completely different worlds.
Here are some examples of the difference between Work Life Balance and Work Life Integration
|WORK LIFE BALANCE||WORK LIFE INTEGRATION|
|Leave the office at 5 pm to pick up your child at school||Bring your child to work after school|
|Leave the office at 5 pm and turn off the phone||Hourly flexibility and being able to answer calls remotely|
|Use the lunch break to take the dog out||Bring the dog to work|
|Offer employees lunch||Have employees choose between a free lunch or receive the equivalent sum for holidays|
What are the advantages of Work Life Integration?
This new concept is a great way to give equal time and attention to all areas of an individual’s life. All without necessarily having to sacrifice one or another.
Creating a division between work and private life, as in the case of Work Life Balance, may not always be feasible. This could lead to mood alteration and increased stress.
On the contrary, combining work with personal life could make everyday life less monotonous.
Instead of counting the hours left to leave the office as inevitably happens in the case of Work Life Balance, you could directly work from home and enjoy the company of the family at the same time.
Everyone will be able to manage their activities in an appropriate manner and according to their needs.
How to create Work Life Integration
- Request flexible working hours. However, not all organizations and all roles allow this.
- Discover your needs. Integration into working life is not the same for everyone. The way you choose to organize your time will depend on both professional and personal commitments.
- Plan. Be sure to plan taking into consideration the biological clock. Are you a morning bird or a night owl? In the most productive phases, we need to plan the most important work that needs more effort.
- Coordinating work and private life. If you have a family and / or other significant commitment, you need to make sure to organize work in conjunction with these other commitments. After all, the integration of work into personal life should make life easier, not more complicated.
- Give importance to productivity and not to hours. It is easy to associate the amount of time spent at work with productivity. However, this is not always a measure of the real contribution. We must focus on the value that is created rather than on the hours spent at work.
- Is it really the right method? Integrating work into private life is often a useful way to meet both personal and career goals. However, this is not a suitable method for everyone.
How an organization can implement Work Life Integration
1. Evaluate the current work-life balance programs
Many organizations are wasting resources on programs that employees do not evaluate or use.
This is why everything starts with an assessment of the real use of these programs. The collection of feedback on awareness of benefits will also be indispensable.
Sometimes, employees may not even know certain benefits. It is therefore necessary to evaluate the awareness within the organization, before abandoning any program that is not used.
2. Segmentation of pilot employees
Not all customers are the same and not everyone has the same needs. The best customer service adapts the experience to these values and needs.
Employee segmentation groups employees based not only on skills and functions, but also on their needs.
3. Expand the flexibility of virtual work and planning
An increasing number of organizations are investing less in physical offices and increasingly expanding into virtual workforce.
A remote work force requires many considerations and planning. However, it represents a great advantage in terms of Work Life Integration: time flexibility.
4. Identify employee benefits and flexibility
Instead of offering some “general” benefits to everyone, it is sometimes more efficient to offer choice among multiple options.
This ability to modify benefits offers greater flexibility to employees and also allows the assessment of the use and ROI of programs aimed at integrating working life.
5. Be creative with the benefits of Work Life Integration
To get the most out of Work Life Integration programs, an organization must become creative.
There are in fact innumerable advantages that can be offered, and it is important not to take anything for granted.
Here are some questions that might be useful:
– What do employees do outside the office and want to do in the office?
– What would make the office more similar to the personal lives of employees?
– What are employees afraid of losing when they are working?
– Why do they feel the need to completely separate their work and their personal lives?
– How do they spend their free time outside work?
6. Start slowly and proceed step by step
Assuming that the organization has obtained the data and knows where to focus in order to adopt the method of Work Life Integration, the advice is always to start slowly and proceed step by step determining the success and ROI of the programs adopted.
This allows you to try many benefits simultaneously by increasing the positive buzz and employee engagement.
In conclusion, Work Life Integration is a trend that must be considered and monitored.
Work is increasingly integrated with personal life.
It is a fact that if the work aspect is not good, life as a whole is affected and vice versa.
Work is life and life is work and the two things are becoming one.