By Micheal Gilmore
Work-life balance has become a modern business mantra in the last few years. However, with the growing influence of new technologies on our everyday lives, it is getting harder to separate the personal from the professional life. That’s why we are now talking about the work-life integration.
More than a third of employees claim that their top motivation for changing jobs is the desire for work-life balance. As employers are not able to fulfill such demands, they are trying to integrate the two elements and set preconditions for the high-quality private time and productive business. In this article, I will explain the importance of work-life integration and how to achieve it.
There are many models of work-life integration and all of them rely on specific mechanisms. However, they all have a few principles in common, so I will discuss each one of them here.
Set the Ground Rules
The most important thing for each company is to set the basic rules of work-life integration. Employees need to know what you expect from them and what are their rights and freedoms. Once the general guidelines are done, you can work with each employee individually.
Take a Result-Driven Approach
The best way to make sure that there will be no problems in the process is to accept the result-driven approach and follow the fulfillment step by step. For instance, almost 70% of modern employees carry a work-capable device on vacation. This essentially means that everything is allowed in work-life integration as long as the workers are able to get the job done in a timely manner.
You cannot achieve full work-life integration if you don’t customize duties so they fit an employee’s needs. Someone loves to work alone and some people prefer working in teams. On the other hand, there are professionals who are early starters, whereas some people enjoy the late night work. Try to take this into account and indulge them as long as it doesn’t jeopardize the overall results of your company.
Use Collaboration Tools
Many companies use contemporary IT tools to boost collaboration and employee effectiveness. Utilizing software solutions such as Trello or Jira, team leaders can exercise agile project management and follow the work process in real-time together with their colleagues from anywhere in the world. These types of tools enable entire teams of employees to work in close cooperation, constantly adding comments, sending data files and messages, or uploading project-related documents.
Forget Extra Tasks
If you see that someone has completed his or her duties for the day, let them go home and enjoy some bonus spare time. It will encourage people to be more productive and more creative. But if you add extra tasks to those who fulfilled a daily plan, you will only discourage them and make them procrastinate in the future.
Offer Other Perks and Benefits
A lot of companies already offer things like free snacks, lazy bags, or fitness hours to their employees. But this is not enough anymore, so the best companies really boost work-life integration providing their workers with much better benefits. Here are some of the most notable examples:
- Intel: This company is well-known for its education programs. It offers numerous student programs, adult education, tuition reimbursement, career centers, and many other similar benefits.
- Mercedes Benz: A famous car manufacturer has a concierge service in the U.S. which operates 24/7. It helps Mercedes’ employees when they need house repairs or any other assistance in that regard.
- Ernst & Young: An audit giant invented several family care programs for its employees. They offer child and elderly care, family coaching, telecommuting, and a whole lot of similar perks.
Today, it is almost impossible to draw a clear line between an employee’s personal and professional life. This is why companies are trying to encourage the so-called work-life integration and allow people to work freely and according to their own preferences. In this article, I showed you the basic principles behind this concept. Feel free to embrace them as part of your business and let me know in comments if you have additional inquiries about this topic.