Professor Friedman’s solution proposes thinking about your work and personal lives as two parts of a whole that complement each other, rather than as two separate realities that constantly compete for your time. This type of integration is not about trade-offs - but synergies, gaining more by combining aspects of life often deliberately quarantined from each other. However, for this theory to work a definition of both work and personal life needs to be established - so that you can actively observe or note down the different ways in which you think or handle situations as your “work” or “personal” self.
A good way to clearly define the two roles of your life, but not completely separate is to establish a separate physical area for working away from your personal space. The modern office space - even with all the concessions made for COVID- will remain an important and integral part in both our personal and work lives; as well as a way to establish an understanding between them.
There are several theories on how to enact this work-life separation and balance. Psychologists Jeffery Greenhaus and Saroj Parasuraman describe this work-life integration as “when attitudes in one role positively spill over into another role, or when experiences in one role serve as resources that enrich another role in one’s life”.
Understanding your work-life relationship as an integration, rather than a competition was easier to achieve in a pre-COVID world. An example might be participating in a work-sponsored fun run for charity, or competing against colleagues in a work-organized blood drive. These types of activities that rely heavily on collaboration are a chance to deepen your bonds with colleagues and do something good for the community.
Now with the physical distance needed between yourself, your colleagues and your workspaces; finding ways to implement this healthy type of integration and collaboration could be seen as harder to achieve than ever. But as socially distancing looks to be a permanent part of our thinking moving forward, and as new techniques or dynamics of working become unavoidable - now could also be the time to take advantage of this new work culture with increased flexibility and ways of connecting.
All these new technological, adaptive and agile working skills developed by the Australian workforce during our work from home stints will not only be compounded with a newfound appreciation of face-to-face collaboration and communication; but also an appreciation for our office spaces. Having a designated workspace away from your personal life and duties, not only creates a physical barrier, but a mental and social one as well. A distinct way to actively enhance both work and personal dynamics.
Of course, we need to recognise that COVID-19 has dramatically changed personal and work behaviours, and we need to let go the mental model of thinking of work-time and home-time being as distinct and separate blocks that compete against each other; and instead as complementing factors to each other. With the new flexibility around work times, personal space and ways of working - a flexible office space solution is the best way to help re-invigorate and redefine both your personal and work-life satisfaction.
If you're interested in a flexible workspace solution for yourself or your business, contact our team today to discover your perfect work-life balance.