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Our phones are constantly buzzing at the dinner table with email alerts. We’re getting notifications from Dropbox collaborators on our computers long after the work day has ended. We strive to achieve work-life balance, but the truth is, we’re fighting an uphill battle. Enter: Work-life blend. Evolving technologies like cloud computing and advanced smart phone capabilities paired with the on-the-go lifestyles of millennials who are entering management positions means it’s time to revisit how we work.
We shouldn’t feel limited to complete every aspect of work inside our businesses’ walls – and the tides are already beginning to turn. Fortune reports a study in which 75% of high-earning women completed some type of personal activity, whether it be an exercise class or kids’ parent teacher conference meeting, during work hours. On the flip side, 77% reported completing a work-related activity outside of work hours. The average work day is quickly evolving, so much to the point that The Business Journals cited ‘work-life blend’ as one of the top 10 Small Business Trends of 2016.
So how can you go about adapting to this newly embraced work-life blend? Try building these features into your culture and company practices:
Identify your key ingredients.
Just like a recipe, think about what your perfect blend of work and life looks like. Think about what’s important to you, and prioritize that in your blend.
Keep in mind – it’s your blend.
The great thing about work-life blend is that it can and should be customized to what you want to accomplish, both personally and professionally. Whereas work-life balance strives to evenly distribute the weight, with work-life blending, there is no ideal to strive for – it must be custom tailored for you, by you. Find a blend you like and that works for you. Ignore other people’s judgments and focus on what makes you feel healthy and happy.
Have a flexible schedule.
This should contain both your personal and professional to-do’s, while staying transparent with yourself and your peers in sticking to those to-do’s. This flexibility allows you to have more control over you’re doing when you’re doing it, but staying transparent gives you accountability to your coworkers.
This goes hand-in-hand with having a flexible schedule. While creating your custom blended lifestyle allows for great flexibility, it’s also crucial to make sure what needs to get done, gets done. Especially considering most jobs require collaboration, you and your coworkers’ schedules should be conducive to completing good work as a whole. Monitor this mix and determine what is working not just for you but also for the people counting on you.
Re-evaluate your work-life blend regularly.
It’s a slippery slope when you open the doors to answering emails at 10pm and beginning the next project at 6am, and if making time to enjoy personal activities falls to the wayside, it can quickly manifest into workaholism. Once every month or so, systematically re-assess your work-life blend to make sure that it makes sense and allows you to lead a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life – recalibrating your path will keep you on the right track.
When you find your individualized work-life blend, you’ll discover that it is entirely malleable. It never needs to be a set-schedule, as it can change depending on what you feel like at any point in time. The beauty of this is that it echoes and corresponds with how life has always worked: unpredictable and constantly fluctuating.
Christine Riordan of the Harvard Business Review eloquently sums up the work-life blend:
“Even in the busiest of schedules, the most practical and effective way we can live is by aligning our personal priorities of work, family, health, and well-being. Such realignment can bring huge gains in emotional and physical energy, not to mention greater clarity and focus at work.”
This post is written on behalf of Cory Jones, who currently serves as Vice President of Commercial Marketing for Frontier Communications. In his role, Cory is responsible for all facets of business-to-business marketing for the company, including acquisition, retention, digital, social media, lead generation, and marketing communications.
Cory holds a bachelor’s degree in advertising from Texas Tech University. He lives in the Dallas area with his wife and two children, and is on an eternal quest to finally break par on the golf