Is Your Company Ready to Give up ‘Work-life Balance’ for ‘Work-life Integration’?


Is ‘Work-life Balance’ the saviour it claims to be for Burnout workers?

Many companies tout ‘Work-Life Balance’ in their job advertisement to attract talents.

Strategies like trimming work hours, providing more annual leave, scheduling company activities during working days and embracing flexible work are often regarded as the ‘Work-life Balance’ offerings. 


‘Work-life Balance’ is an elusive concept. Afterall, our life is one seamless experience. Since when has our life become so compartmentalized that achieving a balance between work and personal life is seen as the key to completeness?


‘Work-life Balance’ is a Century Old!

The separation between work and ‘life’ has a root in the Industrial Revolution when people worked over 70 hours a week in factories miles away from homes. The Ford Motor Company was thought to be a pioneer of introducing ‘Work Life Balance’ by institutionalizing the 9-5 workday pattern in 1926.


Despite the considerable evolution of our economy from an industrial to a knowledge-based model, it’s intriguing to find that the concept of work has largely unchanged. Irrespective of the profound shifts in the way our economy works, there is still a stubborn belief that work must be a perpetual tradeoff between your time and money.


Why ‘Work-life Balance’ is no longer relevant?

The idea of ‘Work-life Balance’ implies a strict separation between work and life. It is unrealistic in the 21st Century. Here is why:


  1. In the age of globalization, and with conferencing technology, people now work across different time-zones.
  2. The pandemic has fueled the rise of remote work and the separation between work and home could only be visible through people’s attire during video meetings. And in most of the case that is superficial—remember last time you wear your shirt and pajamas in a video call?
  3. Modern workplaces require flexibility and connectivity outside regular working hours. It makes people harder to disengage from work-related responsibilities when they are supposed to ‘live their life’.
  4. Our workplace has become so dynamic that workers who stopped learning will risk becoming irrelevant in future workforce. It is challenging to clock those hours spent on learning as it straddles the two seemingly separate realms.


What is Work-Life Integration?

Work-life integration is an approach seeing the professional and personal life as one holistic experience which often involves overlapping responsibilities and priorities. It entails:


  1. Flexible schedule and remote work:

Workers are empowered to plan their work and personal life around each other without carving distinct boundaries between them.


  1. Result-oriented work performance:

Workers’ performance can be clearly measured by their outputs, not just their presence.


  1. Personalized approach to work:

Each individual has different aspirations and life circumstances. Work life integration rejects the ‘one-size fits-all’ attitude towards work. It is not about finding a balance between work and life, but finding a balance that works for each individual.


  1. Holistic well-being:

Work-life integration posits that individuals thriving in their personal life are more likely to thrive at work.


The Applicability of ‘Work-Life Integration’

In alignment with recent work trends such as unlimited vacation, the concept of ‘Work life Integration’ is not too radical and is surprisingly quite applicable across a wide range of industries.


Industries that operate in highly regulated environments or rely on physical presence may face more challenges in implementing ‘Work-life Integration’, but it is not entirely impossible. ‘Work-life integration’ could be as simple as giving more autonomy to the employees to arrange their shifts.


Thanks to modern technologies, employees can now schedule and collaborate with their team members more effortlessly; companies are also capable of monitoring employees’ performance and engagement, ensuring that compensation aligns with individual performance levels.


Ultimately, what makes ‘work-life integration’ works is the motivation of employees and the trust of employers, serving as essential antidote to a stagnant workplace preventing employee burnout.

Success: You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter


Find Us