I Don’t Want Work/Life Balance

Because it’s an oxymoronic phrase.

Many organisations take pride in promoting work/life balance. Many employees rate workplaces based on their ability to have work/life balance. This phrase is a paradox for me, one I’m often caught in when asked to rate my experiences working in different organisations. See, I tend to LIVE at work too — physically, emotionally, personally.

We LIVE at work too — physically, emotionally, personally.

Given the amount of our lives we spend at work, we need to stop talking about achieving work/life balance. This ‘slash’ introduces an unfortunate dichotomy, one where we feel we can only really be ourselves when we finally escape work at the end of the day and head to our real lives with our family and friends and real interests. Occasionally, we’re encouraged to bring ‘acceptable’ pieces of ourselves to work, leaving fragments of the wonderful whole elsewhere. We count down the hours till we leave the workplace, and we see engagement survey scores take a hike or a dip depending on the number of those hours.

We can only achieve work/life balance when we stop talking and thinking about work as something outside of life.

It should be ok to make choices in the workplace the way we would at home or outside of work, be it keeping to family commitments, promoting a cause you’re personally attached to, a health and wellness regime that is central to your wellbeing, a hobby or skill that you pursue and practice. It should also be ok to expect the workplace environment, culture and structure to respect and understand these choices, and allow you to bring all those ideas, those choices, that real diversity of thought, into the workplace.

Enable and encourage your employees and your colleagues to bring their whole selves to work. Better yet, get them to LIVE at work.