WORK-LIFE FUSION

As life is becoming increasingly complex with people juggling between responsibilities at work, heavy meeting schedule, business trips etc. people today don’t segment their life into “work” and “personal” categories but rather their different roles often collide. Another challenge in the coming years will be the five generations i.e. Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y or Millennials and Generation Z working side by side.  It will be a challenge to bring them on same page, despite different styles. In such type of situation the question arises that how to manage the work and family. A newly proposed concept of work-life fusion which can be explained as the simultaneous management of work and life demands while one is still at work can be a way out. It indicates a major shift in how work and family domains are managed in today’s work environment.  We are aware that the two domains work and life have developed to be more complex from human and technological perspective. On one side younger generations are savvier with technology. Older generations are affected by the behavior of younger generations around texting in meetings and using other social media while at work. Employees are at the same time constantly available after working hours through technology. Technology can play an important role in building a balance between work and family as well as between multigenerational workforce. Haegar and Lingham (2014) in a study on managing work and life through the influx of certain technologies such as Web2.0, Skype, social media, Email, virtual, face to face interaction etc in the workplace suggested that instead of redrawing the boundaries between work and life, it is possible that clear boundary conditions have been subverted and that work and life demands and interactions have become fused through technological advancements. They found a greater fusion of work and life management in the younger generations. Whereas older generations are still becoming comfortable with the virtual world, but do see it beneficial for managing work and life. The need to have Face to face interaction is diminishing in all the generations. It was also evident that the two older generations Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are still becoming comfortable operating in the virtual world whereas for Millennials virtual expectations is not a tool as they have grown up as the “Always on” generation. Though there is a great divergence in how boomers and millennial perceive the workplace and manage their life when at work and at home we can say that depending on the age of worker different forms of technology can be a help or hindrance to work-life balance. Understanding the technological needs of all generations employers can develop work environment that are conducive to all generation since workplace is home to five generations today. Employers need to address and support such a shift in order to accommodate the current and future workers who will also grow up fully integrated with technological tools. Organizations need to be current on technology to maintain a balance between concern for productivity and concern for people. Leaders need to transform the ways employees could manage work and family by being at one place.

 

References:-

Knight R. (2014). Managing People from 5 Generations. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2014/09/managing-people-from-5-generations

Haeger L. Donna & Lingham, T (2014). A trend toward Work–Life Fusion: A multi-generational shift in technology use at work. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Vol.89, 316-325.