Before, many dreamed of attaining a work-life balance. But then, many argue that there is no 50/50 balance point when juggling work and your personal life. In short, many claims work-life balance is a hoax. What you can try to achieve instead is a work-life blend.
But before we dive into the work-life blend craze, it is important that we define what work-life blend and work-life balance are first. This will help us understand what each term is and what each term is not. Only then can we truly understand why finding a blend is better compared to finding a balance between life and work.
Defining Work-life Balance and Work-life Blend
Work-life balance does not necessarily mean having an equal amount of hours for work and personal life each day. But it does advocate for people to create individual zones to prioritize work and personal activities. For one, it is quite an unrealistic rule to follow. Two, there is no one-size-fits-all formula for everyone as each has their own priorities and responsibilities.
Work-life balance strongly suggests that your work and personal activities should rarely come together. If these two factors intersect, then you can end up feeling stressed out, unhealthy, and unproductive. In the real world, not everyone is lucky enough to find jobs that offer much flexibility that supports work-life balance. This is supported by research wherein 66% of employees believe they don’t have work-life balance.
Work-life blend, on the other hand, is defined as the integration of your personal life and work. The term came to life after Ultimate Software conducted research and they found that most employees are working hard to achieve blend instead of work-life balance. The new concept claims that there is no way you are not making compromises to take care of all your work and personal affairs. It is all about doing what it takes so you can excel in your job while being able to realize your personal obligations.
When comparing both terms, work-life blend wins the game. Reason number one is that work and personal life are very hard to separate especially if you are already a parent. There will be times when you will have to compromise one area to give way to more important things. But the good news is, that you can always even things out the next time to ensure you don’t sacrifice or favor one thing over the other.
How Can Parents Make Work-life Blend Work?
Parents are often torn between their work and their personal life. They need to make sure they retain their jobs so they can cater to their family’s financial needs. But then, their spouse and children are among their top priorities, making it difficult for them to choose which one to tackle first. They are often the first ones to realize that there will always be trade-offs for every decision. But what can parents do to achieve a work-life blend?
Sometimes, it will take one to make big decisions to make blending work. For instance, some families would rather buy a new house and move to better cater to both work and their families. If such a solution is not plausible, you can welcome other options.
For one, you can opt to consider joining your company’s flexible work schedule scheme. This is beneficial if you spend so much time traveling to and from work each day. You can use the extra time you save to spend on your family without fully disconnecting from your job responsibilities. If this is not possible, you can consider finding a remote job instead and structure a routine schedule to accommodate work and personal activities.
There will be times when you can’t simply juggle childcare and your work-related deadlines. What you can do instead is to talk with your spouse and find other ways to solve your dilemma. When both parents are unavailable, know that there is no shame in asking for help. This can be in the form of asking a trusted loved one to babysit for you or hiring a professional babysitter to put your mind at ease.
It is important to set healthy boundaries. While work, childcare, and housework matter, you also need to set aside enough time for self-care. New research claims that parent burnout is real and can have detrimental effects on one’s physical, emotional, and mental health. If you don’t take self-care for granted, you will fail to provide the kind of care your family deserves and your quality of work will suffer.
Achieving a work-life blend is nowhere easy. It will take some time before you can whip up the right strategy. But trying to attain a blend is better and more realistic than trying to “balance” everything out. If you want to have a happy family life while enjoying a satisfying career, know that work-life blending can help you incorporate both worlds in the healthiest way possible.