Before globalization and the advent of 24-hour connectivity, work-life balance was plausible. A lot of us can remember a time when you could walk out of your office, into your home and have a distinct separation between the two worlds.
That separation is disappearing, which is why work-life integration is now the strategy de jour for companies to increase engagement.
Simply put, instead of treating work and life as binary opposites, work-life integration merges the two in a way that meets employees’ needs.
Work-life balance is Cornelius splitting his day into rigid eight-hour increments. Eight hours of work, eight hours of family time and eight hours of sleep. Sometimes these divisions are difficult to maintain because Cornelius has personal life demands that need his attention throughout the day like grocery shopping, car maintenance and weekly dry cleaning.
Work-life integration is Cornelius spending half of his lunch break working out at the gym so he can grocery shop later that evening. He’s passing time on the treadmill by reviewing his company’s social media accounts. Cornelius might leave work around 5 p.m., but he usually looks through client emails while watching his daughter’s soccer practice.
The biggest difference between these scenarios is that work-life integration allows for greater flexibility because it recognizes the fact that life cannot be neatly siloed into separate components.
Happy employees are 12% more productive, and this leads to increased customer satisfaction. Employers have also found that financial incentives don’t necessarily increase engagement. Time is a finite resource, and your employees want more of it.
Perhaps this is one of the biggest reasons that 32 of Fortune’s Best 100 Companies to Work For offer employee concierge services as an effective way to accomplish work-life integration.
Let’s look at Cornelius’s day one more time. Remember how he was exercising during lunch so he could use that time to go grocery shopping after work? Imagine that Cornelius’ employer offered concierge services and his weekly grocery shopping was taken care of along with his car maintenance and dry cleaning by his concierge. This gives Cornelius hours of time back and now he can devote it to the important things in his life.
Professional concierges manage the daily tasks that interfere with employees’ professional productivity while giving them the gift of more personal time. After all, balance and integration are means of maximizing time and concierges enable employees to do just that.
In the comments section below, tell us about the common life stressors that are distracting you or your co-workers at work.