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HR officials used to talk about work/life balance. But with telework and other trends toward remote work options, officials have begun to use a new phrase: work/life integration. “From where we were 10 or 15 years ago to today, it’s a lot different,” says Tom Wimer, principal of OneDigital’s Human Capital Solutions.
“With the demand for more flexible schedules, the way that people work has changed. It’s becoming more of a meritocracy—judge me on the work, not where I do it or how many hours I put into it.”
Julie Stich, director of research at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, notes this change has stretched the concept of the workday, with many doing work from home in the evenings and on weekends. “They’re doing personal stuff at work and getting work messages when they’re at home,” she says. “It all does blend together.”
Wimer says workplace interaction has changed dramatically. “The old weekly team meetings just don’t happen much anymore. It’s just not the way a lot of folks communicate anymore. We’re on a 24/7 communication cycle.” “It’s a brave new world in many ways,”says Heathfield. “And employers who do not adjust to this are not going to attract the best employees, because those employees know they can go somewhere else and get what they want.”