6 Tips for Work-Life Integration

(Last Updated On: 12/08/2018)

Many of us are on the quest for a comfortable, balanced work-family life.  So how attainable is it?  How do other families manage in contemporary times? Today, it is no longer about work-life balance and more about work-life integration.

We believe there can be harmony and integration for work and family, and it is not just a myth.  With thoughtful planning and an urge to create a meaningful work environment that includes the family, it can be achievable, sustainable and rewarding!

Don’t just take our word for it, here is what advocates say on work home life integration…

According to one study, 44 percent of workers in the Netherlands believe they should have the freedom to define their own work schedule, and the traditional 9-5 hours is outdated.

Studies reveal the practice of integration results in less stress and more overall fulfilment (especially benefits working parents).

People work best at different times and in different locations.  Some work more productively later in the afternoon or evening.  Early birds can conquer a solid few hours of work and be finished by 3pm, dedicating the entire afternoon with their children.

Many people value the notion of working from a home or whilst on vacation with the family. Does working on your vacation really ruin your holiday? We don’t think so.  According to one study, 52 percent of employees check work emails during their vacation.  In fact, many people find it easier to relax if they know work isn’t piling up for them back at the office.

We cannot pretend there may be challenges with integrating work and family.  However, it is necessary to plan and manage your time, expectations and relationships.

Some of the challenges include;

  • A blurred line between start and finish hours. Thus, it’s important to still protect your own time and boundaries. Technology makes it easy to contact anyone at any time. So common courtesy still prevails by being mindful of meal and sleep times.
  • Undefined hours can cause a lack of trust and structure. Agree on flexi-time hours and when it is acceptable to make contact.
  • Vacations and weekends provide the time to disconnect. It’s healthy to leave work behind and be completely present for yourself and family without the distraction or interruption of work.

 

Here are 6 Tips to integrate smoothly:

  1. Recognise people of different work needs and family dynamics. Be more understanding of individual’s situations. Families and employees should not have to work against their natural rhythm or family structure.
  2. Build trust and responsibility. Essentially, people want to be trusted. Stay focused on the results by setting clear performance targets. Focus on productivity, not hours.
  3. Flexibility. It is give and take for both employee and employer.  Be willing to give back to the employer where necessary and reasonable. Flexibility does not mean a boundary-less relationship between work and personal life.
  4. Boundaries. Have clear boundaries and set limits.  Define what works for your family and communicating the boundaries.
  5. Technology & Discipline. Use the flexibility of technology to your advantage. For example, video calls from home or responding to emails on your phone/iPad.  Most importantly, know when to switch off by managing your use of technology smartly.
  6. Create a good network. Don’t try to do it all, request to build a support network from family members or co-workers.

So, by considering the pros and cons each family should be able to determine a working arrangement that suits their lifestyle.  Could home office be for you? Or perhaps starting a family business, a child-friendly café or workspace that not only incorporates your own children but welcomes other families as customers too.

Work-life integration is fast becoming the norm for forward-thinking companies and family run businesses.  Fundamentally, as long as the business needs and expectations are successfully met, work and family routines can be integrated in a meaningful and productive way.

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