Work-life blending instead of work-life balance?

Why should I learn about work-life blending?

The changes in working life are accelerating today and approaches such as new work, home office and flexible working are revolutionizing old principles from everyday work. This is also where work-life blending is included. Whether as a trend or in the long term, it is definitely worth dealing with the new form of work and leisure time and taking one or two tips for your own professional life with you. Here you can find out what work-life blending is, how it distinguishes itself from the well-known term work-life balance and how you can implement it meaningfully and integrate it into your own life and company.

What is work-life blending?

Digitization and increased working online, as well as globalization, have created the framework conditions for the concept of work-life blending. Work-life blending is intended to seamlessly merge work and private life. Activities should no longer be clearly assigned to one of the two areas. All this has a lot to do with flexible working hours and places, as well as with the self-determination of employees. Whether it’s a longer private train ride that can be useful for a project from work, creating a presentation or making phone calls with other time zones in your own garden, or starting work later to do the shopping or private appointments beforehand: these are all examples of work-life blending. Large and well-known companies such as Netflix successfully operate work-life blending and let their employees freely choose their working hours and days. Microsoft was also one of the pioneers here and abolished fixed working hours as early as 1998. Success proves them right. Digitalization and extensive opportunities make this easy for almost any company today and promotes productivity and creativity in companies. Even costs can be saved by the lower demand for premises and the attractiveness as an employer is greatly increased. This is particularly useful in the struggle for skilled workers in the labour market.

Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages here too. The biggest and most obvious advantage of work-life blending is flexibility. Private and professional things can be combined perfectly and thus also offer the optimal conditions for families or employees with their own projects, such as self-employment, study or honorary offices. The individual maximum performance times can be used ideally, e.g. night owls are not forced to concentrate in the morning, but achieve much better results in the evening. Directions are no longer lost or can be used for errands or work projects and no longer feel like wasted time. As a result, performance generally increases and results are improved.

One drawback is the lack of limits. Employees are available 24 hours a day, anywhere, which can be exploited by companies to work far more than usual. This removes the benefits and creates additional pressure and performance degradation. Studies have shown that conscious shutdown is important for long-term health and performance. However, this is increasingly being lost due to the mixing of work and leisure time, and many companies are using work-life blending as a pretext to demand even more from their employees. There must therefore be a harmonious mixing in which both areas get an even share.

What is the difference between work-life blending and work-life balance?

The work-life balance aims at an individual, healthy distribution of one’s own resources between the two areas of work and private life. There is a clear separation here and private life serves to “refuel” new energy. This is not the case with work-life blending, but the time and spatial flexibility no longer makes working life a great energy eater. Work and happiness or fun do not have to be mutually exclusive with this concept. Both concepts therefore focus on the individual, optimal use of resources and reduction of stress and aim at balance, motivation, health and productivity. Both concepts also offer more time for friends, family and your own projects. However, they are quite different in achieving this.

What are the tips and tricks for implementing work-life blending?

The concept of work-life blending sounds spanish to you and you would like to implement at least a few ideas? If the basic requirements such as laptop, good internet connection and access to the company servers, as well as personal responsibility, discipline and interest of the employees are given, nothing stands in the way.

First of all, the framework conditions for the work should be clearly defined. What exactly does work-life blending mean in the company, how is it contractually stipulated and how can and should it be implemented in concrete terms? Are there core times when employees need to be reachable? Are there fixed days when you have to show up in the office? How is the time recording done? Are employees’ laptops adequately protected to reduce threats to the corporate network? It is worth clearly defining all these questions in advance and writing them down in writing in order to avoid any later ambiguities or different expectations.

Both the manager and the employees should communicate times when they are not reachable. In this way, rest zones are created and the constant accessibility is limited. Regular exchange is also particularly important for remote teams that are sometimes created. Continue to provide feedback and be available for questions and support!

As mentioned earlier, you should bear in mind that your employees should also give their private life enough time for a work-life blending to allow for mixing at all. This includes not calling your employees on holiday and not requiring 24/7 access from them. You may also have employees who, despite the flexibility, are looking for structure and continue to choose a classic working day. This is the beauty of work-life blending, as everyone can choose the optimal framework conditions for them and thus use their time perfectly.

Conclusion on Work-Life-Blending

Freedom, personal responsibility and more creativity, instead of a culture of presence: this can be work-life blending. Despite the many advantages, the concept is not suitable for every company, for example, in the case of manufacturing companies, it becomes much more difficult to achieve the corresponding local and time independence. However, if your company and your corporate culture meet a few basic requirements, make your company a popular and successful employer through this concept! But here too it is important to note, despite all the flexibility, to continue to give employees free time in which they are not available on call. Then nothing stands in the way of promoted productivity and perhaps some innovations.

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