Out With Work-Life Balance, In With Work-Life Integration

Side view of confident young man working on his laptop while sitting at his working place at night time ** Note: Soft Focus at 100%, best at smaller sizes

Advances in technology have completely changed the way we interact with our work, with our families, and with others. Each day, the line between work and life becomes more blurred, to the point where it no longer makes sense to fight against it.

According to Eric Svenson, Co-HRO Gap Inc, “work-life balance is a concept used to talk about the tension between work life and home life; it was an outcome of both genders moving into the workforce in the 1970s. This concept was based on the idea that you would create barriers between work and home so that work didn’t spill much over into home.”

Svenson said this to Jacob Morgan, co-Founder of the Future of Work Community, on a podcast about why work-life balance is a losing proposition and why we should all be striving towards work-life integration.  

“It’s really unrealistic to say to employees: I want you to be committed to customers and fellow employees, and be there for them and also have balance, and not work nights or during the weekends.” -Eric Svenson

With globalization and new advances in technology the business world has completely changed. In the past, businesses and stores would be closed on the weekends, and work hours were less flexible. Today however, people expect and demand service 24/7, and they expect these services to be available, quick, and fast-responsive. According to Svenson, globalization and digital technology are key drivers behind this change.

You can now work whenever and wherever you want

Flexible workspace operators are among the ones that have benefitted the most from this change; it’s driven more people, and even large companies to their workplaces. Today’s business model has, in part, become about finding creative solutions on how people can work in a modern world. This creativity has influenced workplace design, flexible scheduling strategies, and the economy in general (gig economy, startups, etc).

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Svenson’s belief and proposition is that we get the best of both worlds. “It’s better to just give in, instead of fighting the needs of work and life as they overlap with each other.” To make this best of both worlds scenario possible, we need to make use of our innovations and available technologies — and also flexible workspaces.

The mindset of the workforce has also changed. For millennials, work hours do not dictate whether or not they’ve fulfilled and completed their work; for them it’s about whether they’ve successfully accomplished their tasks and goals, regardless of whether it took them 4 hours, or 10.

Flexible Workspaces and Work-Life Integration

Workspace operators have already benefitted from the change in the way people work, but they can also play an active role in helping others integrate their work and personal lives.

A few years ago there was some debate on whether serviced offices should stay open until later at night and open during the weekends. At the time, not many saw the immediate benefits of extending their workspace’s operating hours. Today that has changed; not only has it become easier to manage and control access at all hours, but having extended hours of operation can also give a center a competitive advantage over others.

Work-life integration is the new and improved work-life balance; it’s up to flexible workspace operators to make the most of this new movement to benefit and help the most. We think weekend and night hours are a great place to start, what about you?