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Balance or Integrate



Time passes quickly or slowly depending on what we are doing or who we are spending the time with. As we know, time is a precious and limited resource. People are always looking for ways to make more time available to them. Over the past decade or so the expression “work-life balance” has really gained traction. I have used it myself many times without really considering alternatives. However, in many countries around the world, the expression “work-life integration” is more commonly used. So, what’s the difference?


You could argue that at the core, they are the same. People are looking for ways to maintain a personal and professional life. However, “balance” seems to imply a separation, a kind of trade-off, whereas “integration” has a more harmonious nuance.


Please imagine an old-fashion device called a balance, used to weigh things. Something is taken from or added to one side to counterbalance the other. However, the word integration is seamless and allows things to flow together rather than compete against each other, the way we hope that our personal and professional lives can co-exist.


One of the things that many people are talking about recently is the fact that working from home (WFH) has given them time to reevaluate what is important. And, for most people, it is the first time to have choices available. WFH has allowed people to go for morning walks, see their children off to school, take naps, or otherwise manage life around a work schedule. Most people would agree that happiness in life comes from having choices, and now many people have more options available to them.


With all the anxiety that has come from the past nearly two years, we have also had some great opportunities, ones that will go well beyond the pandemic and will enrich our lives if we allow them to continue to take root. Whether working from home or the office, we must all take some time to consider how we can work toward a better work-life integration.


Wishing you health and happiness, always.


Mark Tofflemire

Tailor Made Inc.



Key words and phrases

gained traction: to grow in popularity, to trend

integration: merge, bring together

at the core: central to, a basic principle

trade-off: something that is given up in order to gain another

harmonious: existing together without conflict

reevaluate: to assess again

see (someone) off: to accompany someone who is leaving

take root: to become established

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