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Work-Life, Balance or Integration?

Question asked by Samina Azad on Jul 2, 2014

Earlier this year, HBR featured two articles on work-life balance. One of the articles said “forget about balancing, you need to prioritize” and the other article suggested that it is better to call this issue "work-life integration". Balance is meant for opposite or conflicting priorities. Work and life have a lot in common. 


Problem: Most people of the current generation feel they can’t achieve “balance” through constant juggling and ends up not being able to engage meaningfully either at work or home.


Solution: People find that it is easier to focus and be effective when they make deliberate choices about which opportunities to pursue in both places.


Outcome: Those who carefully manage their own human capital this way maintain a higher degree of satisfaction both professionally and personally.


Deciding when, where, and how to be accessible for work is an ongoing challenge for many of us. What is the best way to balance/integrate work and life? Consider the three takeaway points:

  1. Keep in mind that life happens
  2. There are multiple routes to success: be prepared to take a detour
  3. No one can do it alone: build your support network


Finally, HBR’s survey showed “Both women and men leaders consider the tension between work and family to be primarily a women’s problem.”