As companies continue to digitally transform within data-driven economies, human resource management and work-life balance have been thrust into the spotlight.
This is linked to Covid-19’s lockdown disruption to business say work-life management specialists at Sensory Intelligence Consulting, who add that businesses now have to rethink their approach to work-life integration and employee wellbeing.
A recent survey conducted by Randstad highlights the significance of this shift, with a substantial 61% of workers, particularly those in the 18 to 34-year-old demographic, expressing their reluctance to entertain job offers that threaten the equilibrium between their professional and personal lives.
Equally striking is the finding that 48% of respondents would contemplate leaving a job if it infringed on their life enjoyment.
Marieta du Toit, Director, Sensory Coach, and Workshop Facilitator at Sensory Intelligence Consulting, said that achieving successful work-life integration should be a paramount concern for both employees and employers.
While several industries and sectors are witnessing the return of employees to physical office spaces, some forward-thinking organisations have embraced the hybrid working model, enabling a division of workdays between home and office.
Du Toit supports this approach and says it fosters higher performance.
However, she added that working from home can pose challenges for some people.
Du Toit said, "The ability to organise and focus may clarify why some individuals find remote work more stressful than traditional office environments. In the office, the expectation is to dedicate undivided attention to work-related tasks, with all other life responsibilities- whether as a partner, parent, child, sibling, or a member of society- temporarily set aside. The workplace typically entails fewer demands for multitasking - no hungry children, shopping lists, dirty dishes, ironing, entertaining friends and family, or household maintenance."
"However, it is these multifaceted responsibilities and roles that bring meaning to our lives, elements we cherish and cannot do without."
Sensory Intelligence Consulting has compiled a list of suggestions to help organisations establish and sustain a successful work-life integration:
- When transitioning from work to home life, it is advisable to minimise stress factors. It starts with identifying daily stress factors and each employee’s unique predisposition to what, how and when stress becomes too much.
- It is crucial to be attuned to your sensory needs and address them thoughtfully. Consider whether you require more or less sensory input from your environment to achieve a state of calm and relaxation. Measuring sensory thresholds and the related predisposition to stress and burnout sets the scene for the successful implementation of a work-life integration strategy.
- Individuals with a higher threshold for sensory input, often referred to as sensory seekers, may find solace in activities such as listening to music during their commute home, dedicating the initial fifteen minutes at home to connect with family, or enjoying spontaneous game nights with friends.
- On the other hand, sensory avoiders, those with lower sensory thresholds who prefer less environmental stimulation, may choose quiet alone time, spending their initial moments in the garden, or unwinding after a long workday with a captivating book or an entertaining movie.
- Identifying and practising boundaries and expectations around both work and life will contain both worlds to a manageable level.
Du Toit further said, "The most pivotal question to ask oneself is, do you work to live, live to work, or are you content in successfully integrating these two essential facets of your life?"
HR professionals have the responsibility to recognise and support this transformation in the workplace, du Toit says.
“Work-life integration is not a passing trend; it's the future of employee engagement and well-being. By fostering environments that embrace this shift, we can empower both our organizations and our workforce to thrive in this digital era,” she said.