The Great Resignation continues on with a new record number of workers, approximately 4.5 million, leaving the workforce
According to a recent global survey by Future Forum, 76% of workers want more flexibility about where they work, and 93% want greater flexibility in when they work. But it’s not not flexibility for its own sake. Behind the desire for flexibility is also a desire to recalibrate one’s relationship between their lives and their work. Simply speaking, people want their lives to come first.
It appears that what people are resigning from is a culture of “workism”: the idea that we’re defined primarily by our work, and life must fit into the increasingly small space that is left. People are beginning to realize how possibly backwards this thinking about work-life has been.
Please don’t get me wrong. Our life’s work is important, especially since it can give us purpose and meaning, as well as pay the mortgages on our home and car. Although it’s an essential part of sustaining and contributing to a thriving life, it doesn’t necessarily have to take the place of life itself.
For example, the time has probably come to do away with the term, ‘work-life” balance because how we characterize our living situation can often be restricting. In trying to “balance” all the aspects of our lives, like fitting everything into one small cardboard box that is bulging from the sides, eventually the box can weaken, and the contents can start falling out.
So, in response to this collective mindset shift, forward-thinking companies are rethinking their approach to the concept of “well-being.” It’s no longer just a perk, or something to be squeezed in as work allows. Life-work integration is about embedding well-being into the workflow itself. It’s about well-being as a set of guiding principles that we can design our day around. It starts with asking ourselves what our non-negotiables are, what are the things in our lives that are critical components of who we are and who we want to be, and that allow us to show up as our best selves.
So instead of thinking of the “balance,” we might want to think in terms of “integration.” If the activity of our work and our daily lives can be more integrated, we might just get fulfillment from each at the same time. Maybe we’ll end up happier.
As the Great Resignation has revealed, millions of people our looking for a framework upon which they can build a more integrative lifestyle so that everything fits comfortably into that cardboard box.
Nancy Seiverd, President, CMI Credit Mediators, Inc.