Work-Life Integration vs Work-Life Balance: Is One Better Than the Other?

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In today’s always-online economy, workers walk a stock of their clip connected job-related tasks. This has been awesome for business productivity, but it’s been a disaster for workers’ intelligence health. As a result, cases of burnout are much communal than ever.

To combat that, nan conception of work-life balance began to summation traction arsenic a solution. Businesses started mentioning it arsenic a halfway portion of their activity culture, and labor began to use its principles to found boundaries betwixt their individual and master lives.

But what’s nan quality betwixt work-life integration vs. work-life balance?

Which is Better: Work-Life Integration Vs. Work-Life Balance

A increasing chorus of experts suggests that workers should purpose for work-life integration alternatively than work-life balance.

The thought is to extremity trying to fresh your regular responsibilities into neat small compartments. Instead, they declare workers should find ways to make their individual and master lives coexist.

For each of nan talk, however, there’s small grounds that overmuch has changed since work-life equilibrium was introduced. According to nan Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), nan mean worker still spends little than 15 hours per time connected individual care. That includes clip spent sleeping, eating, leisure, and family activities.

In different words, it appears astir workers successful nan developed world still lead lives dominated by their jobs.

Does Work-Life Balance Really Work?

All of this begs nan question: Why do workers person specified a difficult clip keeping their activity clip successful check?

The reply whitethorn beryllium that they’re going astir it successful nan incorrect way. This is erstwhile a caller thought steps into place, and nan mobility is asked, “is work-life integration amended than work-life balance?”

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So which is nan amended approach? Is it work-life balance, pinch its idealized conception of building walls betwixt activity and your individual life? Or is it nan caller paradigm — work-life integration — that ditches individual and master life equilibrium successful favour of workable solutions?

Here’s everything you request to cognize astir nan 2 approaches and which is nan 1 you should beryllium moving toward.

What Is Work-Life Balance?

The funny point astir work-life equilibrium is that it intends thing different, depending connected who you ask.

The wide idea, however, revolves astir allocating a precise magnitude of clip for activity each time — and keeping that activity from overlapping pinch nan remainder of your time.

Perhaps nan champion meaning of nan work-life equilibrium conception comes from nan United Nations Department of Operational Support

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They summarize nan conception arsenic an actionable group of principles, which include:

  • Not scheduling work-related meetings extracurricular of agency hours
  • Not scheduling meetings during luncheon breaks
  • Not scheduling meetings successful nan day connected nan past time of immoderate activity week
  • Avoiding sending (or tending to) urgent work-related emails connected weekends
  • Considering elastic activity aliases different compressed schedules

Building Walls and Boundaries Between Personal and Professional Life

In different words, nan nonsubjective of work-life equilibrium is to support work-related tasks confined to activity hours and to look for ways to change activity schedules to debar infringing connected individual time.

This is simply a awesome thought — if it were imaginable for astir people.

For 1 thing, astir workers don’t person nan powerfulness to power nan demands placed upon them by colleagues, bosses, and others successful their activity sphere. And moreover erstwhile they can, it’s not a complete solution.

Even erstwhile not taking activity home, group thin to bring nan accent of nan activity week location pinch them. Studies person recovered that astir 52.3% of Americans are unhappy, uninspired, and disengaged astatine work.

Under conditions for illustration that, who tin opportunity that existent work-life equilibrium is simply a realistic possibility?

For astir people, nan reply is that it isn’t. It’s thing much than an thought — and an ineffective one, astatine that. But that’s thing that nan conception of work-life integration intends to remedy.

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What Is Work-Life Integration?

The halfway thought down nan conception of work-life integration is simple. It’s that successful ways ample and mini — it’s simply intolerable to build walls betwixt your master and individual life.

So, alternatively of swimming against nan tide, it proposes that it’s a amended thought to look for ways to make nan 2 parts of your life coexist.

Under nan work-life integration model, there’s nary implicit extremity of reaching a 50-50 divided betwixt nan master and nan personal. It accepts nan reality that emergency emails will happen, that sometimes a 40-hour workweek isn’t capable and that immoderate meetings can’t hold until nan weekend’s over.

The goal, instead, is to spot each regular master and individual responsibilities arsenic a portion of a greater full and to schedule each time accordingly.

Work of Life and Life of Work

Approaching things successful this measurement sidesteps nan halfway problem of nan work-life equilibrium paradigm. It eliminates nan inherent hostility that comes from trying to support artificial barriers betwixt activity and nan remainder of your life. Therefore, it besides eliminates nan consciousness of guilt that group thin to consciousness erstwhile activity intrudes connected their individual life.

Conversely, it besides eliminates nan guilt workers study erstwhile they consciousness for illustration they’re not being productive enough; that’s an rumor that doesn’t get arsenic overmuch attraction wrong nan work-life guidance conversation. It besides leaves room for schedule improvisation and flexibility.

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In short, work-life integration represents a reality-based attack to accommodating nan needs of your employer and your ain needs astatine nan aforesaid time.

So, Which Approach Is Better?

The truth of nan matter is that there’s nary one-size-fits-all attack to nan problem of managing one’s activity arsenic a constituent of one’s life. If your employment circumstances assistance you a precocious grade of power complete nan demands of your job, work-life equilibrium whitethorn beryllium imaginable to immoderate degree.

But if not, nan existent work-life equilibrium would beryllium a gangly order, if it’s imaginable astatine all. And past there’s nan matter of personality.

Some group person small trouble handling stress astatine activity and whitethorn moreover move it into information to activity harder. For others, work-related accent is debilitating.

A caller study recovered that 1 successful 4 workers successful nan US discontinue their occupation owed to intelligence wellness concerns complete nan past 2 years. They’re nan victims of nan nonaccomplishment of nan work-life equilibrium model.

How Work Affects Us Now

With activity from location becoming nan norm, labor are incapable to disconnect, cheque emails connected their phones, return calls during lunch, and create reports precocious astatine night. This inability to disconnect has been reflected successful countries’ regular hours spent connected apps expanding from 3 hours to 4-5 hours.

As nan lines betwixt work, school, and societal life blur, group find they are utilizing complete 10-19 apps successful 1 week. This increases their activity hours which past causes individual issues.

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Eliminating Other Causes of Stress

That reality, however, yields yet different statement successful favour of nan work-life integration approach. By eliminating nan added stressors created by nan work-life equilibrium approach, it seems imaginable to scope thing of a happy medium. Common stresses astatine activity stay — arsenic motivators for some, arsenic impediments for others — but nary further stressors extremity up successful nan mix.

As a whole, integrating activity is simply a equilibrium that should beryllium a nett affirmative for astir workers. As agelong arsenic they’re handling nan responsibilities of activity and their individual life successful whichever ratio useful champion for them — they tin see their work-life integration efforts a success.

Which Approach Suits You Best?

The main takeaways present are simple. The first is that group who’ve managed to create a work-life equilibrium they’re happy pinch don’t needfully request to change. But for those who haven’t, nan work-life integration attack seems for illustration nan 1 pinch nan highest likelihood of success.

For 1 thing, work-life integration should beryllium a acold much attainable extremity for nan widest cross-section of workers. It doesn’t require immoderate wholesale changes to their workload. And it destigmatizes nan thought of devoting excessively overmuch clip to activity aliases to different priorities, respectively. It besides prioritizes elasticity successful some parts of one’s life.

So, devoting other clip to activity tasks erstwhile basal is simply a perfectly acceptable practice. And it besides intends doing nan aforesaid for individual matters, beryllium it family obligations, wellness issues, aliases moreover vacations, is good too.

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The Bottom Line

The thought of work-life integration intends going pinch nan travel and making adjustments arsenic necessary. Rather than trying to compartmentalize one’s activity life and individual life. It is, therefore, an acknowledgment of reality successful a measurement that nan thought of work-life equilibrium does not.

For that logic alone, it would look that work-life integration should soon switch work-life equilibrium arsenic nan go-to extremity for nan mostly of nan workforce.

In nan end, however, only clip will tell, and each personification will person to find nan solution that useful champion for them. Just arsenic really work-life integration tries to blend activity pinch life issues, choosing betwixt nan 2 approaches should not mean correct aliases wrong.

Ask yourself which useful for you and which 1 will springiness you much restitution successful life. In nan end, your peace, happiness, and restitution are what matter.

Featured photograph credit: Aziz Acharki via

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