Workplace Integration: A gain or drain on well-being?

Today the boundaries between one’s professional and personal life are clouding. Technology has revolutionized the way we interact with each other, allowing us to stay connected 24/7 to our colleagues and bosses. Smartphones make connecting to others more flexible and convenient. This is why organizations are gradually replacing face-to-face communication with email and texting. Contrarily few of us completely unplug when we return home, or even when we’re on holiday.

The Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers need to learn from the millennials on blending the different areas of their lives. It is feasible to go to parents teachers meeting in your child’s school and at the same time check and answer office e-mails or take that vacation you’ve been waiting for while conferencing into the daily meeting. According to a study, 42 percent of employees feel ‘obligated’ to check emails during vacation.

The question is, is it a gain or drain on our well-being?

A Gallup survey revealed that 17% of engaged employees report better overall lives as there is better work life integration. However, psychologists caution that the benefits come at a cost of our mental and physical health. Employees who check emails and text messages frequently report having developed “telepressure”.

Journal of Occupational Health Psychology defines telepressure as “an urge to respond to work-related emails and messages no matter when they’re sent.” This tendency to feel internal pressure to always be connected leads to lesser me – time. Work bleeding over family time affects relationships, causing undue stress and guilt. Ultimately, placing employees at the risk of burnout, ill heath, absenteeism and poor performance.

The use of mobile technology away from work is an advantage rather than a deterrent, probably because of the flexibility it invites. Employers need to establish a supportive work environment that supports without feeling extra stress.

How to achieve effective work life integration

      Set Boundaries: Stop making yourself available to work 24/7. Create clear boundaries between work and home by carrying a separate cell phone for the job if possible.

  • Share the Load:Don’t require yourself to do everything. Ask for help when you need it.
  • Lead from your Strengths:Identify those strong traits that can apply to both your personal and professional life and then use them to navigate your work.
  • Practice self-care:Other than work and family make some time for self. Do not compromise on good nutrition, ample rest, regular exercise and some positive self-talk.
  • Get unplugged: Plan out to be technology-free or unplugged atleast once in a while, as we do need adigital detox at some point.

Tips for a digital detox

       Begin with a digital diet

  •      Never use your smartphone as an alarm clock this will help you avoid the temptation of checking       messages or emails early in the morning
  • Being aware of  the time you spend on your mobile will be the first step on cutting it down
  • Build your self-discipline to stop your impulses from dictating your choices.
  • Keep people informed about your digital detox schedule

The work that we do is evolving, so are workplace practices. It is not possible to get it all-performing well at work while being able to spend quality time with family. Hence making the two worlds to meet may seem impossible and even ineffective. Learn to accept the paradox. Nevertheless, work life integration may make more sense and enable you to do the things that are important to you.