Work-life blending is the new challenge facing employers. Office based roles have changed and will continue to morph as technology develops further. The pandemic; working from home; virtual meetings; social media. All are disruptors to the well-established concept of work-life balance.
Maybe it’s time to change. Can we learn something from the way younger colleagues embrace technology and live their lives flexibly?
Some predict the collapse of work-life balance, but maybe it still has a place. Which do you prefer? Work-life balance or work-life blending?
The challenges of work-life balance
Achieving a perfect work-life balance has always been nigh on impossible. The continually changing demands of work and personal life have made it so. But it’s even harder now because lines between work life and home life have become blurred.
It’s harder to distinguish between work and play when your office is at home. The ‘always on’ effect of social media can mean continuous interaction with colleagues and work ideas. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but when information is always being thrown at you, it’s harder to maintain your balance.
The idea of work-life balance infers opposing forces, where each side is competing for your attention. A never-ending challenge of switching between time at work, time with family and friends and ‘me time’.
Relatively few jobs exist now, where you leave all your work troubles at the factory gate or office door. Work follows you home, in your laptop, your phones and in your mind.
That’s not true for everyone, though. If your work stays ‘at work’ and you can truly switch off when you leave, then finding the right balance may not be so elusive.
For my guide on “How to get a better work-life balance” click the button below.
Work-life blending and Generation Z
For some, it’s just not feasible to divide time effectively between work, family and leisure. It all becomes intertwined and the ability to set clear work boundaries disappears.
Don’t confuse this with being a workaholic. This is not about spending every waking hour being consumed by work. Think more of outcomes-based work, rather than time-based shift work.
If you want to go for a run or a swim, or take time out during the day to read a book, does that matter, if you still produce what’s required? This goes beyond the idea of flexible hours, where you still need to be ‘at work’ for a set number of hours per week.
Generation Z is bringing a renewed set of workplace expectations to the debate. Those born between 1995 and 2010 will embrace remote working, with technology at the heart of everything they do. Digital nomads are rising in numbers, as people embrace the ‘work from anywhere’ culture.
The environment, authenticity and alignment with personal values are important for this generation. This study by Monster indicates they are hardworking, ambitious, and more likely to start their own business.
It’s this flexibility and personal responsibility that lends itself well to the idea of work-life blending. Imagine a life where work is aligned with your values, integrated in your daily activities and is part of who you are. You cannot underestimate the joy of your work being aligned with your purpose in life.
If you like the sound of this, financial life planning can bring you closer to this utopian blend. It involves self-reflection exercises and coaching led discussions to help identify your ideal lifestyle, followed by planning to make it happen. To get a flavour of what’s involved, read my Design Your Future article.
The choice is yours
Work-life balance and work-life blending are really quite different approaches. They should both, however, result in happier, more fulfilling days.
Either way, your financial situation will have a big impact on your overall wellbeing. Often, it can be the uncertainty around money that prevents action. The fear of giving up a secure salary, the uncertainty of going self-employed, the difficulty in knowing how much you need for the rest of your life.
If things feel out of balance at the moment, it could be worth spending some time with a financial coach or a financial planner. Why not arrange a chat today? It could be your first step towards a more balanced, or blended, life.