It’s an understatement to say that collectively, we’ve experienced substantial change in the past two years. Perhaps one of the most notable is the mobilization towards an “integrated life” that blends personal and professional aspects.
What does “integrated life” really mean, and what benefits does it hold when practiced?
The Human Resources team at UC Berkely uses the phrase “work-life integration” instead of “work-life balance.” According to them, “…the latter evokes a binary opposition between work and life. In fact, the traditional image of a scale associated with work/life balance creates a sense of competition between the two elements. Work/Life Integration instead is an approach that creates more synergies between all areas that define “life:” work, home/family, community, personal well-being, and health.”
We’ve all answered Zoom calls in our pajamas. Maybe we’ve asked for an extension on a project due to family troubles. Perhaps we’ve taken PTO solely to rest and restore our mental state.
Essentially, we’ve had more room to breathe. A bit of space, no matter how minute, to catch our breath for a second and return to other valued areas of our lives. When we take these restorative moments, our physical and mental health inevitably improves.
As we enter into a new era of work – what some call the “Era of Humanity” – employers can best help employees create synergies within our multi-dimensional lives by resorting to the basics. These include:
- Truly pausing and listening to an employee’s story
- Validating an employee’s experience
- Helping problem-solve with genuine kindness and goodwill
If asked about my level of hopefulness on the future state of the professional working world, I’d reply with, “optimistic.”