The future of work is set to be hybrid, with many employees now wishing to retain the flexibility they gained working from home, while still experiencing all the benefits of workplace interaction and collaboration they have been craving over the past eighteen months. On one hand, this can be heralded as a major breakthrough in moving towards a more agile working environment, yet on the other, a lack of hybrid acceptance from many business leaders, or an inability to deliver this level of workplace agility, is causing anxiety and burnout amongst staff.
The impact of the pandemic and altered working environments on employees is best exemplified by recent research from The Workforce Institute at UKG. The report – entitled “Hindsight 2020: Covid-19 Concerns into 2021” – found that over half of U.K. workers (51%) felt they had been working more hours regularly since the start of the pandemic.
In light of this issue, now is the time for organisations to go beyond the traditional idea of work-life balance and instead embrace a cultural shift to the philosophy of work-life integration.
What is work-life integration?
Traditionally, many workers have advocated for a clear delineation between work hours and non-work hours – a concept also known as work-life balance. However, modern commitments and diverse working environments have led to an evolution in the way work and life operate in tandem with one another. The concept of work-life integration is based around having the freedom to choose when and where to work – and living life in between. Essentially, it’s not so much about how life fits around work anymore, it’s about granting employees the autonomy to fit work around their personal commitments.
Take this as an example: an employee has to attend a school sports day. There are two realistic options in this scenario: they can take annual leave and lose a whole day’s productivity, or they can pick the work-life integration option that involves working from home in the morning, attending the sports day, and logging back on later to finish urgent work tasks. The second option is an obvious win-win for both the employee and company, with negligible loss of productive hours.
Work-life integration can be harnessed by the frontline worker as well! Shift swapping and shift splitting – where an employee completes their hourly requirement across multiple shifts – can assist in freeing up time to attend personal commitments without losing pay or productivity.
The power of technology
Modern technology – whether it be workforce management tech complete with mobile self-service, or other workplace connectivity tech – is a key enabler in helping today’s employees choose when and where they plan to work. Through workforce management technology, employers can communicate better with employees and eliminate mundane planning through automation. This is especially true for human capital management (HCM) software, which has the ability to track time effectively and incorporate every aspect of HR management under one roof. By giving business leaders greater visibility of their workers schedules, employees can enjoy the true harmony of work-life integration.
Here at UKG, we believe that people are an organisations greatest asset. Our range of award-winning HCM, payroll, HR Service Delivery, and workforce management solutions therefore aim to deliver on this promise. Factoring in people’s emotions, responsibilities, and preferences, UKG is helping companies across the globe to enable staff to work in a way that empowers them to thrive both at work and in life.