Apr 20, 201504:54 PMForward HR
with Diane Hamilton and Nilesh Patel
Why you should strive for integration, not balance
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Very early in my career, a vice president of human resources told me he expected employees to leave their personal lives at the door. I can remember thinking that it wasn’t quite that simple –– that we don’t have an on-off switch that allows us to regulate the various aspects of our lives. Plus, by shutting off one segment of our life when we walk into or out of work, we lose part of what makes us who we are.
Instead of focusing on balance, I like the idea of work-life integration. Integration suggests I’m combining the various parts of my life into a whole. Sometimes one area gets more attention, sometimes another. The challenge is to ensure that in the complete picture I call my life, all of those things that are important or meaningful are incorporated.
I’m certainly not alone in talking about integration instead of balance. Many organizations are helping to create work-life integration by implementing flexible schedules, allowing remote work, supporting health and wellness regimes, and encouraging midday energy breaks (e.g., a quick walk around the block, a short meditation, or other options for employees to reenergize during the work day). These ideas help pave the way for a more fully integrated life and lead to happier employees.
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