Work/Life Balance or Integration?

By Robert J. Harris

May 25, 2017

While some wellness advocates encourage employees to seek work/life balance, others maintain that for an individual to fully actualize in both work and life, they should strive for work/life integration (the concept of work/life integration places emphasis on the totality of a person’s experiences rather than as the sum of its parts). Those who advocate for ‘integration’ over ‘balance’ posit that the work/life balance paradigm is fundamentally flawed, and cite the following reasons:

  • work and life are not two opposing forces to be kept in equilibrium;
  • work and life are not dichotomous or mutually exclusive – they are inextricably linked;
  • work and life cannot be neatly compartmentalized into separate domains, and;
  • there is no longer a clear-cut dividing line between work and life.

Work/life integration advocates also maintain that the work/life balance paradigm has become an anachronism. Given today’s blended employment landscape, where workers increasingly rely on technology such as Skype, multiple devices, and other online collaborative tools to do their work, employees now have the freedom to choose the time, place and manner by which they perform their job responsibilities. Ironically, in an effort to achieve work/life balance, an individual can actually inflict more work and more stress on him or herself.

So, whether you believe in balancing work and life on either end of a pole while walking a tight-rope, or integrating your work and life as a weaver producing a whole-cloth quilt, engage in work and life with passion, and take some time to smell the roses – whether at home or in the office.

Robert J. Harris (@edudexterous) is the Founder of Edudexterity.


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