Defining Work-Life Wellness

Work-life balance is a common term used to describe finding balance between work and personal life commitments. However, a study has shown that “work-life balance” as a term does not seem to cut it for people who do not feel particularly balanced.[i] Work-life balance seems to imply that your time at work and home need to balance which is just not practical for most people.

While doing research for a study on entrepreneurs with Calgary Career Counselling’s founder, Dr. Laura Hambley, I searched for a term to replace work-life balance. Work-life integration popped out as a popular term in the research, defined as blending work and personal life.[ii] Unfortunately, the notion of blending work and personal can be problematic since highly integrated lifestyles are often related to lower work-life balance.[iii] One reason for this is that people who integrate their work with their personal life may have trouble setting boundaries and making time for what is important. Since work-life integration is opposed to work-life balance, it does not make sense to use it as the new term for work-life balance.

Exhausting our other options, Dr. Laura Hambley and I then investigated the term work-life wellness. Only finding this term on a handful of industry websites describing employee health, work-life wellness was simply not being used by researchers to describe how people manage their personal life and work. Why not? It’s a catchy term and it describes what we are all longing for – the ability to be well in different aspects of our lives and feel well about the connection between work and home.

Seeking Out Work-Life Wellness

How can we implement work-life wellness in our everyday lives? Here are a few tips:

  • Set boundaries: make daily goals and schedule time for both work activities and personal activities.
  • Be focused: notice what time of the day you are most productive and tackle more complex tasks during that time.
  • Minimize interruptions: dedicate a certain area to work only and silence non-urgent notifications while working.
  • Establish routines: implement work start-up and slow-down rituals and take scheduled breaks.

Blog by Becky Como
BA Psychology Honours Student
Administrator for Calgary Career Counselling

 

Sources:

[i] Soni, P., & Bakhru, K. M. (2019). Understanding triangulated collaboration of work-life balance, personality traits and eudaimonic well-being. Problems and Perspectives in Management, 17(2), 63–82. https://doi.org/10.21511/ppm.17(2).2019.05

[ii] Brower, T. (2012). Making it work: Corporate executive opinions on work-life support. 73, 1089. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=psyh&AN=2012-99170-242&site=ehost-live

[iii] Wepfer, A. G., Allen, T. D., Brauchli, R., Jenny, G. J., & Bauer, G. F. (2018). Work-Life Boundaries and Well-Being: Does Work-to-Life Integration Impair Well-Being through Lack of Recovery? Journal of Business and Psychology, 33(6), 727–740. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-017-9520-y; Li, Y., Miao, L., Zhao, X., & Lehto, X. (2013). When family rooms become guest lounges: Work-family balance of B&B innkeepers. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 34(1), 138–149. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhm.2013.03.002