Health + wellbeing

Is work life integration a pipe dream?

- January 3, 2010 2 MIN READ

I’ve recently become fascinated by the idea of ‘work life integration’. Ok, so I haven’t even mastered ‘work life balance’ yet, but that concept is so last decade!

To me ‘work life balance’ implies a tradeoff between good and evil, where work is the thing you have to endure to get to the good things in life.

In an article a couple of years ago I even suggested it was unrealistic to truly ‘love’ your job. In response, dozens of passionate commenters assured me that it was possible and they were doing it!

So then, perhaps it is also possible to forget the balancing act and fully blur the lines between work and life – creating work life integration.

I used to frown upon the person who took their laptop on holiday to stay in touch with work. But now I think “Why not do a few productive hours in the morning before a lazy lunch? Why not clear the inbox while you’re waiting for the kids to wake up?”

If you enjoy what you do then surely when and where you do it is not relevant.

A while back I read about an English copywriter who goes on long working holidays to France. He wakes up each day and works from 5am to 12pm while his family heads out sightseeing for the morning. He then joins them for lunch and spends the afternoon and evening in holiday mode.

Want more articles like this? Check out the work-life-balance section.

Yes, this may well be an extreme and rare case. But to the other extreme there is the more common routine of working 8am to 6pm waiting for the weekend and four weeks of annual leave. There must be a happy medium.

Am I living in an idealistic fairy land or is true work life integration possible or even desirable? Would it turn you into a workaholic or a sloth perhaps?

I’d love to hear how people have successfully, or unsuccessfully, integrated their business into their life. Perhaps you’re kicking back up the coast right now with your laptop.