Life is complicated. And when you combine your personal life with work, it can be even more complicated. That’s why employees need boundaries to achieve balance between their personal and professional lives.
Some employers feel work is work and life is life, and prefer to keep them separate. But here at Limeade, we believe you need to focus on the whole employee, rather than separating who they are in the office and who they are at home. And it’s your job to find ways to connect and integrate the two. Our work-life integration strategies can help.
Why work-life integration instead of work-life balance?
Traditional work-life balance is dead. Work-life balance implies a zero-sum game that says we can’t have it all. Work-life integration lets us coordinate, blend and bring elements of work and life into a unified whole. The result: A more engaged, healthier and happier workforce.
When organizations provide work-life supports — like flexible work hours and benefits — they enhance employee engagement, satisfaction, retention and health — which yields better company results. And when employees believe their employer cares about their health and well-being, they are 38 percent more engaged, 28 percent more likely to recommend their workplace and 18 percent more likely to go the extra mile for the organization.
How to better integrate work and life
Your employees don’t have to pick between work or life ― instead, they mix. But work-life integration has challenges. When the boundaries between work and life are more fluid, they might find themselves answering emails over the weekend or working late nights on a project. Instead of overworking them, work-life integration strategies are meant to align all of their energy into creating a meaningful and impactful life. So how do you help employees keep work-life alignment on track? By encouraging them to set boundaries.
Our favorite work-life integration strategies for summer:
1. Block off time on your calendar
Is your calendar packed with meetings leaving little time for “heads-down” work? Do you find yourself skipping your morning workout to make a meeting? Put up a few calendar guardrails to designate time each day to complete assignments or honor your morning routine. Whether it’s two hours in the afternoon or one hour every morning from 7 to 8 a.m. with an appointment that says “no meetings” or “busy” — a boundary is set.
2. Limit email on the weekends and at night
Don’t make checking your email at night a habit. Reuters reports, “87 percent of people look at business emails outside of working hours.” Too many emails can lead to burnout and poor performance.
Put your well-being first in the summer and limit the emails you send after hours or over the weekend. In most cases, it can wait until Monday. The Limeade marketing team has a no email policy between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. every day. If you want to get an email out the door, use a tool like Boomerang and schedule it for the morning.
3. Use all your vacation days
Don’t leave your paid vacation days on the table. Take advantage of the time off and actually use it. As a manager, boost well-being improvement in summer and let your team know it’s OK to take time off. Acknowledge or reward employees who take all of their vacation time — they’ve earned it.
4. Make time for exercise
You don’t have to cancel that afternoon yoga class or skip your morning treadmill run — integrate exercise into your work day. Commit 30 minutes to jog outside or join a pickup game of basketball at lunch with coworkers to get moving in the middle of the day. Many companies now support physical activity in the workplace. When you can align your priority of fitness with your work — you’re doing something right.
5. Don’t give out your personal phone number
This one’s easy. Eliminate non-scheduled phone calls throughout the day and after hours by removing your personal phone number from your email signature, website or social media accounts. This way you’re less likely to answer calls while at dinner with your family or before bed. Even better, completely shut off your phone for a few hours every night for uninterrupted time with your friends, family or yourself.