Everybody has heard the term work-life balance before but now there is a rising trend called work-life integration. What do you think is the difference between work-life balance and work-life integration? For those of you who do not know the answer, let’s look at what these terms actually mean and then, you can decide which one works better for you.
Work-Life Balance: Work-life balance assumes that you have a fine line between your work responsibilities and your social/family life. People who favor this trend suppose that you work from 9am to 5pm at the office leaving your other responsibilities behind and after 5pm, you stop replying work related messages or stop taking calls from work and only spend time with your family and friends. Therefore, you have a balance between your work and other responsibilities. Also, when you take time off for vacation, you really make a vacation and do not answer anything work related so your mind can refresh.
Work-Life Integration: Work-life integration assumes that you integrate your family/social life into your work day. For example, instead of going to the gym after 5pm, you go to the gym in the lunch time and after gym, you make a lunch meeting or you make your meeting first and then, eat your lunch at 2pm on your desk. Usually entrepreneurs prefer this type of flexible working schedule or innovative and high-tech companies generally offer their employees the option to work in flexible hours. Another example of work-life integration may be you wake up early to reply your emails for an hour and then leave your kids to school and get to work around 10am to work until noon and then, you have a meeting. After your meeting, you go to gym for a quick work-out and then, eat lunch. Then, you take the kids from school and leave them home. Afterwards, you can get back to work around 4pm to catch your other meeting. After your meeting, you can come back home again, cook dinner, play with the kids a little bit and around 9pm, you can take your laptop to do some more work and you can do your work until you go to sleep. This means that you integrate your work schedule around your life.
Both the work-life balancer and the work-life integrator have time to do their work and to spend time with their family and friends. They just do these in different ways. Now, you have understood the differences of both, it is up to you to decide which one will work best for your daily schedule.