Shifting your mindset from work-life balance toward work-life integration

Work-life integration is not just a buzzword. It’s all about bringing your personal and professional lives together, especially if you're an entrepreneur.

Work-life integration is not just a buzzword. It’s all about bringing your personal and professional lives together, especially if you’re an entrepreneur.

By Anita Murphy

Just about every small business owner struggles to find the right balance between professional life and personal time. In addition to running a business, we’re also juggling many other responsibilities such as caring for our family, our own health and wellness, and even our pets.

Oftentimes we feel dispirited, and we worry about not doing enough for our company or family – or sometimes both.

So, exactly how do you achieve work-life balance? The thing is, most professionals don’t. But, if you’ve ever felt like this, you’re not alone – and there are things you can do to help ease the stress.

Let’s take a deep dive into work-life integration.

Work-life integration: What does it mean?

Work-life integration is not just a buzzword. It’s all about bringing your personal and professional lives together, especially if you’re an entrepreneur. An example solution often recommended involves finishing chores at home while attending conference calls or bringing children into the office during summer holidays.

Work-life integration empowers business owners to intuitively coordinate schedules and responsibilities to focus on overall well-being. This ultimately helps lead to greater satisfaction in all aspects of life.

Work-life integration: Advantages for business owners

Work-life integration eradicates the competitive feeling business owners sometimes experience regarding professional and personal lives. The best thing about work-life integration is that it helps to level the playing field across all aspects of your life.

The concept of balance inherently implies that you can only do one thing at a time. When it comes to business owners who are also parents, they may feel stressed or overwhelmed trying to gain control over their personal and professional lives – running a business while also spending quality time with loved ones, exercising, social responsibilities, etc.

That’s the beauty of work-life integration weaving together a fulfilling life and career. When you bring them together, it opens the door for other opportunities, allowing you to create more meaningful moments across every arena of your life.

Why do we need work-life integration?

Work-life “balance” calls for personal and professional life to coexist, while still growing separately. Employees hold firm boundaries between personal life and the workplace. This situation could divide their concentration for each at a given time.

I think the quest for balance is not the right approach to managing professional and personal lives in today’s work-from-anywhere era. Work-life “integration” might be more suitable because it equally brings together elements of one’s career and private life.

As work demands and contexts are changing rapidly, we also need to alter our approach. Don’t think about “balance” because that connotes ultimate perfection and uniformity that is impractical and therefore leads to frustration and dissatisfaction.

I stopped many years back to be perfect with gaining balance. It just doesn’t work because our brain is such a place where overflowing activities keep us attuned. And that’s why we need work-life integration.

Tailoring employees’ work situations to their personal situations

Part of building a great business is designating what kind of workspace suits the individual in today’s workplaces – with as many as five generations collaborating simultaneously across different industries.

Since people are spending more time professionally than personally, adapting the office environment to each employee’s individual work situation and personality can help create an ideal environment for productivity. And it’s important to keep in mind that each employee works differently. Some make progress in an office setting, while others could be more efficient at home.

A simple possible solution is providing remote work collaboration tools to facilitate employees to stay productive and involved, irrespective of their work.

Employee benefits such as tuition compensation, childcare support and flexible working systems can also assist employees in acquiring their personal and professional goals.

Stay tuned for the next article in this series that will provide tips to help you work toward work-life integration.

Meet new MYB contributor, Anita Murphy, founder and CEO of Onebridge Center. By nature, Anita is a planner and creator and enjoys startups. After devoting seven years of her life to serving in the Army Reserves – and getting discharged honorably just two days before 9/11 – she built an Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities company in 2006. After creating the company from scratch and growing it into a thriving business in just three years, along with single-parenting her special needs son, Anita was burnt out. She ran her business for six years before selling it and taking a three-year hiatus. 

While providing strategic planning to women business owners, she created a new company. Onebridge Center not only provides digital skills training but also enables disabled individuals to access better employment opportunities in the marketplace through job readiness training.

Onebridge Center empowers individuals to achieve what’s possible. They provide skills training through both job readiness training to assist individuals in breaking barriers to employment and corporate training for companies and organizations looking to upskill their workforce. If your company would like to have a discussion about your training needs, please contact Anita at (330) 267-7556 or drop her a line at


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