In our work people often raise concerns over their lack of ‘work life balance’. Chasing work life balance is an illusion, rarely attained because the very term suggests all parts of our life need to be in balance and invariably when they are not people become even more anxious. We need to reorient our thinking from work life balance to work life integration.
Working against attaining work life balance are three drivers:
- Connection through technology. With tablets, smart phones, laptops, the cloud, it is possible to be connected to your work 24/7 from almost anywhere on the planet. In future this connectivity will only increase not lessen.
- Changing attitudes and expectations. Many organisation have cultures where being accessible is an expectation, the norm. This is distinct from those who choose to work longer hours because of the passion they have from their work and the enjoyment they derive from it.
- Telecommuting is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in the sense that people can make better choices around other parts of their life. A curse in that work is only an arm’s length away.
There are seven dimensions that inform our life; Family, Social/Leisure, Education and Learning, Physical Health and Well-Being, Financial, Spiritual (those things that you do for you to reenergise yourself) and finally Work. It is near impossible to keep all seven in balance, however, it is possible to integrate all seven.
It comes down to your life stage, what’s important to you and the choices you make. For example someone who is under 30 and single is in a very different life stage to someone who is in a relationship with two children aged under 10 so each are more likely to make different choices. Similarly, two people who are both under 30 and single may also make very different choices; one may choose to focus on investing and building a career while the other choses to travel extensively and forego career opportunities.
Those with children may have strong focus on building financial security through attention to career, however, they make a point of not missing the all-important school activities such watching their child in the 100 metres relay, an event which missed can never be experienced again as a parent.
What matters in these examples is all have made their choices for reasons that are right for them and therefore integrated the relevant elements of the seven dimensions in ways that work for them knowing that work will always be there in some way.
Our advice is to abandon trying to balance work and life; instead consider the relative value and importance of the seven dimensions to you and your life and develop a plan that allows you to make the choices that are right for you to integrate them into your life.
Vivente Australia enables leaders and managers develop the bond between people and performance, creating a powerful advantage: the synergy between people, leadership, management, and culture, produces performance that allows your business to achieve its best.