It sounds counterintuitive to how you’ve learned to think about work. Keeping your professional and personal lives separate has long been a focus. This post is not a proposal to ditch boundaries and work 24/7. Instead, what if aspects of work, company culture, and organizational values could enhance your life outside of work? Understanding how to bring your work home with you means recognizing the value that comes from letting the experiences, values, and expertise you gain at work carry into your personal life.
Determining What You Value
Your values are the moral rules that guide your motivations and choices. When your personal and cultural values don’t align with the values of your work, it becomes more challenging to find the motivation to show up each day.
Blending personal and work life may feel uncomfortable, but applying your values to both can be beneficial.
When approaching work-life balance through integration, consider:
- Cultural Values. What are the values in your workplace culture and the larger community around you? Which of those values do you support and want to carry through into your personal life?
- Workplace Values. What are your employer’s core values? How do they treat their employees? Are there values in your workplace that you don’t currently carry into your post 9-to-5 life? Should you? How could they help you benefit and grow?
- Personal Values. Some examples of personal values are honesty, freedom, integrity, boldness, and compassion. Think2perform can help you identify your values to better understand what you stand for.
The Downsides of Compartmentalization
Many people who attempt to create work-life balance are compartmentalizing their lives. Sorting your brain into different compartments for family, work, friends, and self-care can help keep stress lower, but you often need to remember to unpack those compartments at the end of the day. That’s where you find the downsides of compartmentalization.
People have to make trade-offs when trying to create a balance in their lives. When you try to separate your life into different boxes, your trade-offs become more drastic and fragmented. In doing so, you create false competition between different aspects of your life and often feel guilty when choosing one over the other. For example, choosing to align a decision with your “work self” or “personal self.” Having the same or similar values for both self aspects can result in less fragmentation.
Your brain isn’t designed to separate life into boxes. Any stress you don’t deal with, whether it’s a work deadline or a sick child, will bleed over and affect your ability to function in every aspect of life. Stress is a one-way ticket to exhaustion, and the more you compartmentalize stress and don’t deal with it, the bigger toll it will take on your mental and physical health.
It’s difficult to connect authentically with people when you separate your work life and personal values. If your values in both places don’t align, you also may feel like you’re unable to truly be yourself in either place. While compartmentalizing might help you set boundaries with the workplace, it’s likely to make it impossible to connect with colleagues and enjoy the time you spend working if workplace values don’t feel natural and important to you.
Integration vs. Compartmentalization
Work-life integration allows you to get rid of the competition between your compartmentalized interests and look at life as the big picture that it is.
Finding time to balance work, childcare, time with your partner or friends, exercise, cleaning, and relaxation is overwhelming. What if the answer is not about finding balance but being whole?
What if some boundaries prevent you from offering part of yourself, your talents, your expertise, etc. in other relationships and aspects of your life?
Benefits of Value Integration
Working at a place with strong, respectable values makes you proud and gives you an opportunity to learn from your workplace. You gain a lot when you can use your personal values to enhance your work and vice versa.
- Brings Clarity. Choices aren’t always easy. Integrating your values into your work makes it easier to arrive at decisions and solutions.
- Promotes Authenticity. In a work environment that aligns with your values, your community will feel safe to be their true selves.
- Reduces Effort. You don’t have to deal with inner turmoil or guilt when practicing the same values at work and home.
- Increases Satisfaction. Your satisfaction with life will skyrocket when you’re dealing with less stress trying to juggle all the things that are important to you.
- Redefines Success. If success at work means living out your core values, inner peace will become what success looks like in your life.
- Prevents Burnout. We all have personal needs we have to deal with. You are less likely to burn out in any aspect of life if you can take care of them without hesitation.
How to Bring Your Work Home with You
We’ve talked about why work-life integration can be life-changing, but how do you do it? The best way to start is to:
- Recognize What Matters to You. Clearly define your values for yourself. Carry the things that are important from your work into your personal life and vice-versa.
- Practice Wholeness. You’re not a robot. You can’t turn your needs on and off, and you shouldn’t feel like you have to. Be the brillant team player you are at home. Show up as compassionate neighbor you are at work. Being wholly you brings a richness to your life and the lives of those around you.
- Let Values Guide Decision Making. Use the worthwhile values you learn and practice at work to make decisions in your personal life. For example, CauseLabs focuses on sustainability and green practices because we want to help take care of our world. Our founders also practice these values in where they spend their money and how they live in their home.
- Share Lessons. Spread the word. Your life will become more enriched and you’ll help others if you share what you learn at work and through your life experiences with others.
- Be Present. Honor your time in both spaces by being fully present. You can’t turn off stress without addressing it, but you also can’t multitask. Recognize that you can focus on what you need to do in the moment.
The CauseLabs Way
You only get one life and deserve to live it wholly at home and work. Identify your values so that you don’t have to compartmentalize your life and can integrate the things you care about most into every facet of it. Aligning your values with your work and bringing work home with you will change your life for the better.
CauseLabs strives to live by our values, and we work to help others do the same. Contact CauseLabs to help you improve your technology to help everyone in your company embrace their values alongside you and serve others.