Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Remember, it's about Work/Life Integration (not 'Balance')

This morning I randomly stumbled (that’s the story of my life) across the work of Stewart D. Friedman. Stewart is Professor of Management at Wharton and Director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project. He’s a former advisor to Vice President Gore and Jack Welch on work/family issues.

What interested me about his thinking is that he shares my view on the myth of the work/life balance; that realising fulfilment and increasing productivity is about integrating the different elements of our lives, rather than neatly segmenting them. This resonates not just with my own experiences but with the ‘jugglers’ I interviewed for my book. There’s a really interesting interview with Stewart below. He talks about the stress of the 24x7 environment and how we create boundaries between the different parts of our life. And he makes the point that is at the heart of my book – if you reframe your working life into something you love, you’ll be happier and more productive. As ever, it’s not about working longer hours, but working smarter.

“The big idea is that it's possible to create value for the different parts (of your life) -- for work, home, community and your private self, the domain of mind, body and spirit -- in ways that you probably didn't think about before. It doesn't have to be a trade-off. Most people operate in a world of thinking about sacrifice as a necessity, that you have to give up something in one part of your life in order to achieve success in another part”.

Watch the interview here.

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