Want to address ‘work-life balance’? Here’s how:
Forget work-life balance. Instead, focus on ‘integration and segmentation’.
Achieving a perfect work-life balance isn’t even a vaguely attainable goal.
The term ‘work-life balance’ itself is misleading. It implies some kind of static balance with an equal division between two equally important yet separate spheres: ‘work’ and ‘life.’
Instead, let’s promote more awareness around the growing importance for us to identify what best suits us at any given time.
The logic is simple. Having enriching experiences in one area of our lives helps us feel more satisfied overall, feeding us an energy boost and helping develop our sense of self-competence and self-determination.
Let’s break down the two strategies:
When our boundaries are clearly defined with strong separation between non-work and work, we refer to this as a work-life segmentation strategy.
On the other hand, an integration strategy is where we purposefully seek more permeable boundaries where work and non-work roles are consciously intertwined, integrating our other life priorities into our work.
And here’s the deal: research has found that neither segmentation nor integration is universally preferable.
The achievement of work-life integration or segmentation is affected by the match between your preferences and the unique circumstances of your personal reality. And that is a subjective and dynamic phenomenon, requiring you to take accountability for working out what works best for you.
What’s not subjective are the benefits.
Working and living well – in a way that promotes growth and is compatible with your current life priorities – will have a positive effect on your mental and physical health as well as your overall life satisfaction.
Article by Audrey McGibbon, Founder, EEK & SENSE
EEK & SENSE are the creators of the Global Leadership Wellbeing Survey which is part of the Golden Door Corporate Wellbeing Program. Find out more.