Blend over balance

The work-life balance: a perfect harmony between our work and personal lives. Half of your time spent working, the other half spent doing activities like catching up with your friends or attending your favourite fitness class. It’s the ideal balance, but in reality, how many of us are really able to juggle our work and home lives equally? Is trying to maintain a perfect equilibrium just putting us under more stress?

According to a survey, IT professionals represent the second highest industry subject to burnout, with 49% of IT employees admitting they feel overworked. With it being seemingly impossible to differentiate our work and personal lives, do we need to move away from the desire to separate them and instead find a way to blend the two?

In the work-life blend model “life and work are seen as consistent and symbiotic, with work viewed as a genuine part of life” implying that blending is all about finding the right mixture of elements to achieve success. So, how can you implement the work-life blend?

1. Priorities-Before you start your new work-life blend, you need to set your priorities straight. Think about the things that are most important to you, and set time to dedicate to each of them. Don’t be too rigid with your timings- the last thing you want is to give yourself added stress by sticking to strict boundaries; the blend is all about being flexible.

2. Assess your position- Once you’ve set your priorities and worked out how to make the most effective use of your time, be sure to check up on yourself and see how your new approach is working. Track your progress regularly and if your blend isn’t quite right, make some adjustments and try again.

3. Stick to the process- Adopting the work-life blend is the same as adapting to any new change; it will take time to get used to before it all runs smoothly. As time goes on your priorities will change, and different elements of your life will require more attention which means you need to be prepared to adjust your schedule. Stick to the process and don’t be tempted to return to the unrealistically rigid structure of a work-life balance.

With many people moving towards a work-life blend, employers are getting on board to help employees with a more flexible approach to time management. Here’s a few ways your employer can support your work-life blend:

Flexible working- It may sound obvious, but offering the opportunity to work flexibly is one of the biggest things employers can do to help employees manage a work-life blend. In the tech world, flexible working is especially important, with 60% of tech professionals stating that the opportunity to work flexibly is a more attractive prospect than a pay rise. By having the opportunity to move away from the conventional working day, employees are able to manage their time more effectively. Flexible working has been proven to increase productivity and morale as well as reducing absenteeism and staff turnover, so not only does it benefit you as the employee- but your employer too!

Employee benefits- Offering a range of benefits is another good way your employer can help you to manage a work-life blend. Things like gym memberships, a running club or getting financial advice are all things you may usually be expected to partake in outside of work. However, if your employer included some of these as part of your benefits package, it would be really beneficial in helping you to blend your work and personal time.

Be observant- We’re susceptible to burnout even after adopting a work-life blend. Employers should keep an eye out for you as an employee, and ensuring you don’t feel overworked is one of the most important things they can do. Your employer should regularly check in with you and make sure you’re maintaining a happy, healthy lifestyle.

The work-life blend is a modern approach to life. With the advancements in technology and the constant crossovers between our work and personal lives, it’s no longer possible to completely separate the two. The best way to retain a healthy lifestyle is to find the perfect blend of the elements in our lives, and focus on what we feel is most important. If your employers currently don’t embrace the work-life blend, talk to them about ways they could help staff with their approach. If your employer isn’t willing to integrate blending into their culture, it may be time for you to consider a career move.

For more information on how to assess whether a company is right for you, check out our blogs on understanding company culture and things to do before you accept a job offer.

Information Technology