Stop Struggling: Integrate Work and Life

 Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

Ever wonder why it’s such a struggle to find work/life balance? Who thought up this paradigm in the first place? Isn’t work an integral part of life? These are the questions that keep us up at night and leave us feeling crazy about the ability to “have it all”. While work/life balance may be a myth, we believe that work/life integration is possible.

Work/Life Balance vs Work/Life Integration

Thinking about work/life balance congers up images of scales that tip one direction when out of balance. This leaves us feeling guilty when the scales are out of balance. But, to be in balance, sacrifices must be made. Often those sacrifices are on the “life” side of the scales because let’s be honest, life includes everything from home and family to community to self and really who can balance all of that against work without sacrificing something major?

Those scales can be really tricky. So, instead, we believe you can throw them out altogether by focusing on work/life integration. Once you can accept that work and life are fluid, you can start to find the synergies that will simplify things. After all, it's not as if we leave our lives at the door when we walk into work and very often work invades our life at home too. This can be especially true for those people actively participating in the gig economy where the lines are further blurred by working from home or in coffee shops.

Spaces to Support Work/Life Integration

Working in an environment where you feel comfortable bringing your whole self to work is critical for well-being. This goes far beyond amenities like refreshments, dry-cleaning, and childcare. It’s a physical space plan that encourages social interactions and organic information exchanges. Coworking space is great for this because, when designed right, it fosters people bumping into one another. It also creates opportunities for learning as well as connecting people who might help us with our challenges. It can be just as important to have these social interactions regarding work as it is to find comradery with parenting and home life challenges.

Coworking offers people different areas where they can work and enjoy multiple options for productivity. For instance, at Haven, we offer cozy space for quiet focus and contemplation as well as higher energy lounge space for casual conversations. These open areas and networking events allow people to connect with fellow “coworkers” in a way that can be inspiring and creative without feeling forced. This allows us the ability to bring our whole selves to work and creates a sense of purpose. You might not have to go to work in order to do work, but coworking offers far more than a simple desk for work; building a space for work/life integration is at the core of coworking.

Vote With Your Feet

The only way we can truly "have it all" is if we stop trying to balance work and life. We need to seek space for work/life integration, allowing ourselves to take a more holistic view because we can only do our best work when we bring our whole selves to it. 

Danielle Lim