Is One Better Than the Other?
“Work-Life Balance” (WLB) is a separation of your personal and professional life. Keeping a work-life balance involves following rules and taking action to separate work and life. Everybody uses different practices, but the key is to allocate time wisely.
WLB would include the following actionable principles:
- Not scheduling work-related meetings outside of office hours
- Not scheduling meetings during lunch breaks
- Avoiding sending (or tending to) urgent work-related emails on weekends
” Work-Life Integration” (WLI) is about blending both work and personal life into one entity. WLI creates a connection or blend between your health & wellbeing, home & family, work & career and community. The goal of work-life integration is to achieve a work-life balance by accepting that, work and life will inevitably coexist, unplanned meetings, emails, and overtime will definitely happen.
The following examples should help you gain a better understanding of WLI:
- You put your exercise time in the middle of your workday, perhaps during your lunch break, this is a more flexible approach.
- Flexibility to leave earlier and take support calls remotely.
Integrating work and life can provide greater flexibility to complete non-work-related tasks. Like any other concept, no approach suits every situation. We are built differently, and we have different circumstances.
As you strive to be more flexible in life, work-life integration eliminates other sources of stress. Removing that guilt of working overtime or taking care of your mental health shouldn’t pressure you to compensate for the lost time. In short, work-life integration represents a reality-based approach to accommodating the needs of your employer and your own needs at the same time.
Which Approach Suits You Best?
Here are some simple takeaways. People who have established a healthy work-life balance will not typically need to change anything. But for those who haven’t, work-life integration would be a better approach.
The Bottom Line
Work-life integration means going with the flow and making adjustments as needed, rather than compartmentalizing one’s personal and work life.
In the end, however, only time will tell, and each person will have to find the solution that works best for them. Just as how work-life integration tries to blend work with life issues, choosing between the two approaches should not mean right or wrong.
Ask yourself which works for you, and which one will give you more satisfaction in life. If work-life balance works, why change it? But if it doesn’t, then maybe integrating a work-life approach will be better for you.