Work-Life-Balance was yesterday - now comes Work-Life-Blending
Many workers long for a balance between work and life. Modern working models should help us to achieve this goal. In addition to the already known work-life balance, there is another current trend, work-life blending. Sociologist and human resources specialist Sabrina Krause explains how the model works.
The well-known model of work-life balance
The term work-life balance, first used around 1970, primarily provides for a strict separation of work and private life. They should not hinder each other and the distribution of the resource time should be perceived subjectively, as optimal. This condition should then be maintained as long as it is satisfactory for the period of life of the person and their environment.
Between yesterday and today - the work-life blending of tomorrow?
Today there are many flexible working time models and company support to make it easier to reconcile work and private life, e.g. the possibility to work in the home office, programs for healthy nutrition and company child care.
But isn’t it presumptuous to assume that a strict separation is possible or sensible?
Yin and yang, black and white, good and evil?
Anyone who takes a closer look at the work-life balance model hears the undertone that without the “tiresome work” no balancing act between the two extremes would be necessary.
But our lives have changed. Classical role distributions are becoming extinct, digitalization allows us to be constantly accessible and up to date. Would you like to answer an email in the evening? No problem. Log in on vacation to check the project status? Nothing could be simpler!
This brings a whole new concept into play – work-life blending. Work and private life may and should mix, if the workplace allows it. You can also be reached in your free time, but you also have the opportunity to take care of your private concerns during regular working hours. A brief look at the social media, the private telephone call during working hours – all this would no longer be negatively affected, because the compensation will take place in due course.
Problem factors in work-life blending
Ultimately, it is difficult to determine to the minute when private and professional matters have been dealt with. But New Work is all about trust anyway, so you don’t have to. The employer should value the independence of the employee. This offers access to unprecedented efficiency and loyalty to the employer. However, the principle always applies – work-life blending means neither 20 hours per week instead of 40, nor unpaid overtime.
Burdens due to constant accessibility
According to work-life blending, constant accessibility in all areas of life places a double burden on you. Actually, however, stress should be reduced by work-life blending, in which life and work alternate in such a way that people benefit from it. Should the stress level rise, then this is due to the individuality of the respective person – this working model does not suit everyone.
The current labour law and rest periods
A call from the boss, reading an e-mail from home – does that already mean an interruption of the 11 hours? Do I have to take a break after 6 hours of work, even though I am in the flow right now? The current Working Hours Act, and especially the issue of “observance of the rest period”, are divided on this subject. (see Working Hours Act § 5 Rest Period)
Workers who can say that work is life and life work should test work-life blending. But if you want to keep work and life strictly separate, you won’t necessarily be happy with work-life blending.
Since the increasing deindustrialization, information and the digital have increasingly become the focus of attention, and today we have long been right in the middle of it. The Working Hours Act is intended to ensure the health protection of the working population. New ways of working belong in a world that inevitably changes. Time to change something before something changes again. At best, laws should also be based on this.
How other countries approach this topic can be seen in the current example of Austria. The following video of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber even caused a shitstorm in the social media!
Whoever wants to be on the safe side as a company, sets up precisely fitting internal regulations. This creates transparency and ultimately higher employee satisfaction.
About our guest author
Sabrina Krause is a graduate sociologist and human resources specialist. Having grown up in classic direct search, she is now a generalist for personnel matters and feels most comfortable in the digital world (www.sensory-minds.com) . In addition to industry experience in entertainment software and Fintech, she has now found her place in the world of digital media. She is particularly interested in New Work and the emerging changes in the world of work.