Schroenn says where balance is about establishing a line between an individual’s personal and professional life and making time for both, integration is more about merging these two areas and aligning the responsibilities.
“Imbalance happens when work and play are constantly encroaching on each other, there is no down time, and whatever you are doing, you feel like you should be doing something else....mobility has made it possible to build and sustain an integrated life,” Schroenn explains.
It is one thing to blur the lines between work and play, where there is clearly overlap, it is quite another to abuse the system and claim integration.
“For example, it is integration to respond to emails over weekends so that you can go to a swimming gala on a Friday afternoon. It is not integration to play Candy Crush at your desk during working hours,” says Schroenn.
“It is not integration to plan your child's birthday party at the office and print all the invitations on the company printer. It is integration to complete RFIs in the evening so that you are able to go to a friend's birthday breakfast on a Monday morning,” she continues.
The point that Accsys leadership is making is that integration is a part of a flexible work schedule, but true integration is differentiated by the fact that it is an adult-to-adult arrangement with the Company.
From an HR point of view, it means that no one has to check to make sure things are being done, that the employee takes responsibility for deliverables.
This means if time is taken for personal reasons, there is a relationship of trust in place between employers and employees which means that management knows and agrees to the scenario because they also know the work will be completed on time and to standard.
No easy task
Compromise will occur, but the advice is to try to keep the situation as balanced as possible. Any attempts to ‘window dress’ balance will be spotted immediately and will not carry favour with any party – neither family nor work.
“People want their work to be fulfilling and empowering, taking them in directions which help them grow, and enjoy each day, both at work and at home. Integration allows for this, but there are times when you have to put everything into your career, and there are times when your family needs your total attention,” Schroenn explains.
The journey towards full integration is not easy and there are stumbling blocks, Accsys acknowledges, but, at the same time, they endorse the services of a reputable and experienced life coach or mentor. “This certainly helps”, Schroenn adds.
Liza du Plessis
Liza du Plessis