Stephanie Baskerville

Is Work-Life Balance Realistic?

Updated: Nov 27, 2018

When you hear the words “work-life balance”, what do you think of?

Does it conjure up images of an early morning that starts with time to yourself, transitions into your 8-hour work day, then finishes off with the perfect balance of spending time with your family, and ending off the evening with some down-time for yourself?

Or does your mind go toward starting work a little later? You know, dropping your kids off at school, spending some time with friends at lunch, then leaving work early to pick up your kids and take them to their nightly activities? Then, after they’re in bed, you turn on your computer for an hour or two to finish out your work day.

Maybe you’re a professional who prefers to get in a workout before heading to the office, then leave early to enjoy a leisurely time with some friends or family, and finish off the day with a few more hours of work!

Whatever the words conjure up, it’s clear that “work-life balance” is great. But is it realistic?

In this blog, we’ll explore why we don’t think it is, why we should be striving for work-life integration instead, and three scenarios where we’ll show you how Workplace by Facebook can help work-life integration in your life.

Why Work-Life Balance Isn’t Feasible

As we’ve mentioned, there are lots of potential ideas about the concept of work-life balance. But that concept puts a lot of emphasis on your work life and your personal life being perfectly in tune, all the time, every day.

There will be days where work must take priority over everything else you do. That multimillion-dollar account needs some extra TLC to close. Your client’s server goes down and you need to spend extra time helping them to fix it and recover their data. Your organization’s holding a big gala event and it’s “all-hands-on-deck” to pull it off. Business trip – enough said. Whatever the reason, there are always going to be times when you need to put the rest of your life on hold and focus on work.

Similarly, there’ll also be times when work can, or needs to take a backseat. A sick family member requires that little extra TLC. You take a vacation and your spouse says no phones allowed. Your clients aren’t as active during certain parts of the year, so you have more flexibility. These are the days when you can place more emphasis on your personal life – indulge in those hobbies of yours, spend more time with loved ones, or just veg out on the couch with a good show or book.

When you look at these kinds of scenarios, it’s clear that, unfortunately, work-life balance is a concept that just isn’t feasible. But, the above concepts aren’t the only reason that work-life balance isn’t feasible. According to a New Yorker article on The Cult of Overwork, the global co-head of investment banking at Goldman Sachs, David Solomon, points out that with the surge in technology in the workforce, there are no boundaries or breaks anymore. That cell phone in your pocket gives you 24x7x365 accessibility, and because of that, everyone is demanding instant gratification and instant connectivity. There is no such thing as ‘being offline’ anymore, and so, it’s unreasonable to believe that you could achieve any work-life balance.

So, rather than strive for something that isn’t feasible, why don’t we just turn our attention to something that’s a little easier to achieve? As a society, we should consider achieving work-life integration. What’s that, you ask? Read on to find out!

Striving for Work-Life Integration

Work-life integration is an approach that takes all areas of life – work, home or family, community, personal, and health – into consideration. It’s about finding the harmonious synergy between all the things you find most important. How? By leveraging technology to intertwine your work and your personal life.

What do we mean by this?

Well, technology has opened many new ways for us to collaborate and work virtually, especially in the last few years, and this advancement provides vast new ways of taking advantage of work schedule flexibility. Consider the following:

  • Video conference calling capabilities have progressed enough that, even if you need to hold a brainstorming session, technology can let you do that. No more need for face-to-face meetings.

  • Every phone has data capabilities, giving instant connectivity to the Internet at your fingertips – a far cry from When Internet was only through landline cables and you needed to be physically plugged in to it to check your emails.

  • Wi-Fi connections allow for the opportunity to turn any place with it into your office – any documents or files that are stored on a Cloud-based server can be accessed via an Internet or data connection from any device, at any time. This opens up the possibility of working while waiting for your daughter to finish swimming practice, or taking a parent to the doctor, or waiting for your spouse at the airport.

There is one technology in particular that takes work-life integration into account above all others, and that is Workplace by Facebook. See below for the top 3 ways that Workplace by Facebook can help you improve work-life integration.

3 Ways that Workplace by Facebook Helps Improve Work-Life Integration

In the section above, we talked about some scenarios that show how technology has provided new ways of working. Workplace by Facebook fits neatly into this technology-enabling work-life integration concept, because it allows you to communicate with people at any time, from any device and all you need is an Internet connection to do so.

Given this, let’s take a look at 3 scenarios where Workplace by Facebook has helped with work-life integration.

Scenario 1: Workplace by Facebook Lets You Broadcast Live from Anywhere.

You’re the busy CEO of a small to medium-sized business. You’re also a parent. While at one of your son’s weekend soccer tournaments out-of-town, you receive word that a huge account has just closed. You are ecstatic – your team’s worked so hard to land this new client and now that the deal is won, it’s time to celebrate! Since you know that they’ve all been anxious about this deal, you decide not to wait for the Monday morning meeting to let them know. Nor does an email seem appropriate – for one, it’s Saturday, so they’re not checking it. For another, it won’t convey the proper emotions you wish to capture.

Enter Workplace by Facebook, which gives you the ability to broadcast live from anywhere.

Opening up your Workplace app on your mobile phone, you open your CEO group – it’s an open group you created for everyone in your organization to keep them informed of important things that they need to know. You navigate to the “write something” section, then click the “Go Live” button and record your exuberant praise of the team. At the same time, your team will get a notification on each of their devices saying that you’ve gone live, and they can either click that notification and watch you, or, because Workplace clearly helps with work-life integration, they can watch it at a time that’s more convenient to them!

Scenario 2: Workplace by Facebook Lets You Share and Work on Documents When You Need To

You are the marketing coordinator for your company, and you’ve just finished a gruelling season of trade shows. You’re finally getting to go on a much-needed vacation. You’re at the airport, waiting to fly out. Then, you get a notification on your phone. Your manager’s tagged you in a post. Opening up your Workplace app, you navigate to the notifications and see that your manager’s posted something in your “Marketing” group. She’s left a post saying that she knows you’re leaving, but she’d like to know if you could check out a one-pager that she’s going to be sending to the printers that afternoon. Not terribly urgent, but if you have some free time at the airport, she’d like your input. The document’s attached.

You’ve got an hour before your flight boards, and you want to save your books for when you’re on the beach, so, you decide you may as well help her out. Because of Workplace’s integration with Microsoft SharePoint, you're able to open the document and work on it from your phone. You take twenty minutes and give the document a thorough once-over. Good thing you did, because you found three minor typos. Saving the document to your phone, you upload it in your reply and let her know that you’ve taken a look.

This is work-life integration – being able to share and work on documents when it suits you, even if you have time off.

Scenario 3: Workplace Lets You Stay Connected to Your Team at a Time That Works for Everyone

As the Vice President of Channel Sales of your organization, you believe in getting all your sales team on the same page. But, some of your team is based in other areas of the globe, so having meetings where everyone is in the same room doesn’t exactly work. And, given that everyone’s in different time zones, you can’t always expect that they’ll be able to get back to you during your work day. Your Europe team is 6 hours ahead, your Vietnam team is 12 hours ahead, and your California team is 3 hours behind. How do you make sure that you can communicate with everyone, or answer their questions, or help them with whatever they need?

With Workplace by Facebook being available on whatever device you need, when you need it, you can monitor communication whenever you have a free moment. And so can they! Your Vietnam team gets a call from a prospect at the start of their work day – 9am local time – and they need to clarify that your company can do what the prospect is asking. Using Workplace by Facebook’s chat capabilities, they send you a quick message. You’ve just picked up your daughter from her karate class when you get their SOS on your cell phone. Knowing that they’re looking for an answer, you’re able to quickly send back reassurance before driving your daughter home.

Work-life integration is especially important when you have different employees in different time zones, and with Workplace by Facebook, you can stay connected at a time that’s convenient for everyone.

Ready to Take Advantage of Workplace by Facebook to Improve Your Work-Life Integration?

Ready to take advantage of Workplace by Facebook to improve your work-life integration? As these three scenarios show, this highly customizable, secure platform is accessible from multiple devices, and can foster real-time open communication, no matter where you are and what time zone you’re in, so you can get proper work-life integration.

At LineZero, we’re here to help you on your journey. As the first Canadian service partner, LineZero can help with design, to pilot, to integration. Our team of experts have the know-how to build you an innovative and collaborative Workplace by Facebook platform that will help you achieve positive work-life integration in your organization. Get started today!

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