Work Life Harmony Mitel

Mastering Work-Life Harmony: Strategies for Balance

3 min read

April 01, 2024

Over the last several years, you may have followed the topic of work-life balance. As fewer people work from home full-time now, the work-life balance theme has spawned new variations. You may have heard phrases like work-life harmony, work-life synergy, or work-life integration, which reflect nuances on how people see work in the context of their lives and families in the here and now.

Whatever you call it, the question remains: how do you know if you are striking the right “work-life balance?” Some experts advise setting firm boundaries when working from home regarding the time of day, an office-like dress code, your location and work setting, and an established work routine. Then, after working, closing the door. This is close to a binary approach; there is work, then life, and they are separate things.

But is it reality?

This approach to work-life balance may work well for some, especially those who like carrying over and mimicking the ways of the traditional office when working from home. It seems there are some universal truths – people want to be as productive as possible, meet and exceed their job expectations, stay sane, and serve their family and personal needs.

If you subscribe to the idea that work is something that gets done, as opposed to a time of day or place to go, then flexibility becomes more accessible. Sure, there are requirements for scheduled meetings, and some have set shifts that are 100% “on” during set times of the day. Beyond that, many professionals and knowledge workers can look at how and when they are most comfortable, creative, productive, and able to meet their job requirements. After all, it is about achieving the outcomes and getting things done. For many accustomed to remote work, working whenever and however, producing the required results might be the best approach.

The boundaries between work and personal life will blur. That’s a fact. So, it’s important to remember that individuals perceive and manage their professional and personal lives differently, and embracing flexibility is critical as workers seek to optimize productivity, creativity, and overall well-being.

Several work-life balance best practices have popped up over the last few years, so let’s recall some popular ones. You can decide whether these are myths or realities in your own lives.

4 Work-Life Balance Myths (or Realities)

1. You need a Traditional Home Office Setup to Work Effectively

To maintain a traditional office vibe, identify a specific location with a door set up as a home office work location and faithfully use that in a structured way to work effectively from home.

This may be a helpful work-life balance tip, but ask yourself if you have a reason to isolate within your home environment. Do you need to avoid the chaos caused by outside stimuli (think of needy pets or young children)? Your timeframe, work type, and mood may dictate where, when, how, and in whatever clothes you like to work.

2. Work “Mission Creep” into Your Personal Life is Inevitable

Hopefully, your work and personal life are not so polarized as opposing forces in your life, in a win-lose struggle for your time and energy. While some might suggest that work should be in harmony with who we are and what we have to offer, the ‘balance trumps integration’ argument holds some weight, too. Those workers seek to separate their work and personal family life, even to legislate public policy boundaries. In some jobs, the blending of time, location, and focus that intertwines work activities with the rest of life is simply not possible or desirable, given the type of work involved.

3. Work-life Balance Can Only Exist if You Like Your Job

Many contributors who don’t like their job want to keep it at a healthy mental distance – forgetting it when they leave work and partitioning their mind, time, and space to escape the workplace. But this does beg the question, does flexible and “anywhere” working allow those workers to see their jobs with more favor and as a more compatible part of their holistic life? Perhaps new management approaches and business culture could enable more flexible working, taking advantage of virtual teams and the latest business collaboration tools that make them successful.

4. Blurring Work-life Boundaries Leads to Constant Work

Always on” is a phrase that’s infiltrated the work-from-home lexicon. Some believe that without strict and defined boundaries between work and personal life, we will become enslaved as our work invades, encroaches, pollutes, and otherwise unreasonably disrupts our overall quality of life.

One of the critical values of work-life integration is flexibility – the ability to work where, when, and how you are most productive, using the most effective tools to collaborate and communicate with your teammates, stakeholders, and customers.

Anywhere working” can be abused and mismanaged, but it does not have to imply that an employee loses control of their life outside of work. The newly found flexibility enhances control and quality of life.

Redefining Work-Life Balance in an Evolving Landscape

As the boundaries between work and personal life continue to blur, it's crucial to recognize that individuals perceive and manage their professional and personal lives differently. Embracing flexibility is critical as workers seek to optimize productivity, creativity, and overall well-being.

Over the years, various trains of thought on work-life balance have emerged – like work-life harmony – challenging conventional notions. Whether you view these as myths or realities in your own life, it's clear that achieving a harmonious blend of work and life is not about adhering to rigid structures but instead embracing flexibility and leveraging the latest tools and technologies to enhance both productivity and personal fulfillment.

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