In the past, work was a location. People drove to work, clocked in and out, and when they left the office, they didn’t return to their work until the following morning.
Trying to maintain a healthy work/life balance in a tech overloaded world where everything is connected has much of the workforce looking for healthy ways to unplug and re-balance their personal and professional lives. Case in point: According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace 2017 survey, 53% of employees say a role that allows them to have greater work-life balance and better personal well-being is “very important” to them.
However, for tech giant and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, work-life balance shouldn’t be the goal: work-life harmony should be. Bezos has said he stresses this idea to both young employees and senior executives at Amazon. For him, work-life balance implies a strict trade-off, instead of a more holistic relationship between work and life outside the office.
Bezos’ thoughts on the transition away from the traditional idea of work/life balance into a need for work/life integration continues as millennials push for integration over balance along with an upward trend in flexible work schedules and telecommuting options. That said, work/life integration should be an important issue for all generations of the workforce, not just millennials.
Ways to Achieve Work/Life Integration
Learn to say “No”: There’s nothing wrong with respectfully declining invitations that overextend you. Real people can’t devote 100% to everything they do. (You aren’t a superhero, after all.) When you stop taking things on out of guilt, you’ll have more time to focus on activities that matter.
Set Tech Blocks: Create blocks of time when you home must remain tech-free to allow focus on family or friends. As an added way to keep yourself accountable, mention this window to your coworkers and manager.
Learn Employer’s Policies: Make sure you’re clear on your company’s policies on flextime and working from home. If there aren’t any current policies in place, ask. You may be able to negotiate new policies.
Telecommute: Telecommuting even a few times a week can help free up valuable hours. You’ll be able to focus on work for long stretches at a time and use the extra hours to meet personal responsibilities.
Communicate: If you’re unable to be available during certain hours of the day due to family responsibilities, let your manager and colleagues know and get their full support.
Create Personal Time: Give yourself permission to take time to appreciate the little things. If you don’t allow yourself to have pockets of personal time, you face potential burnout and won’t be able to appreciate other parts of your life.
This article was originally featured in the January 2019 issues of Townelaker, Around Woodstock and Around Canton Magazines. To view any of their titles online, visit their websites.