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Work-Life Integration: The New Norm?

As we work, learn and socialize from our homes, separating work from life is getting more difficult. Darren Virassammy, the co-founder & COO of 34 Strong, suggests replacing the search for work-life balance with work-life integration. He spoke with Bold TV’s Philip Michael about this approach to structuring work and life.

What is work-life integration?

Inspired by his own experience working from home during the pandemic, Virassammmy reimagined the boundaries between work and life. “You’re trying to get to this perfect, steady-state that doesn’t exist,” he said. “They coexist; they need to integrate. And [work-life integration] allows us to actually show up and be far more present in our family life and our work life.” We can focus on our home-life or career without excluding the other.  

The future of working from home

2020 has opened up many opportunities for both individuals and employers. “People are needing to focus on making those connections, committing more to their family, themselves, their own well-being… That’s really powerful.” From now on, he sees the workplace including people who go into the office, people who work from home and people who work from different time zones, enabling employers to hire the best regardless of physical location. 

Tips for your work-life integration

Virassamy has two main tips for people trying to improve their work-life integration.

  1. First, unplug. Please don’t set up your workstation on the dining table or in the living room where you’ll see it constantly. Work will occupy your thoughts and energy during dinner, yoga or relaxation time. Unplug your computer and phone, and leave them in the other room.
  2. Second, take time for the things you love. For example, Virassammy plays the bass. He makes sure to schedule a time to play every day, which takes him away from the work headspace. Taking this time for yourself allows you to put higher quality and more focused energy into your family and work.
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