It seems hard to believe, but the term “work-life balance” was only popularized in the mid-1980s. Before then, work and life outside of work were seen as separate worlds. And thinking back to the 80s, many companies – and their Baby Boomer employees – didn’t exactly embrace the concept. Work-life balance was often viewed as a frivolous privilege for spoiled or lazy youngsters. Oh, how times have changed.
Fast-forward to 2019. Boomers are phasing into retirement at just the time when employers are increasingly emphasizing work-life balance in a rush to attract millennials. In the process, employers are realizing that it’s not just millennials who crave work-life balance. Work-life balance is important and beneficial to all generations — and to the companies who hire them.
Traditionally, most working professionals followed a workday that looked something like this: Get into your car at 7:00 a.m., sit in traffic as you commute to work, arrive at work by 8:00 a.m., work until 5:00 p.m., commute home – and then forget about work until the next day.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Work-life balance wasn’t necessarily the goal, in part because technology hadn’t yet made it possible yet to work around the clock, remotely, on weekends, and even on vacation. Today, work and life have merged, making it increasingly important to achieve balance. After all, if we’re reachable whenever and wherever, the lines between work and home can become so blurred that it’s hard to see where one stops and the other begins. For this reason, Jeff Bezos of Amazon recently said he favors the term “work-life integration” or “work-life harmony,” as these two phrases don’t imply that you have to make a strict tradeoff between the two.
As you phase into retirement, maybe you find yourself wanting to stay in the workforce but wishing you didn’t have to work in an office or sit in traffic during a long commute. Maybe you want to catch your grandson’s music recital next Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. Or you need to take a family member to a doctor’s appointment during the day. Whatever your situation, achieving work-life harmony as you move into retirement is possible – and has never been more accepted by employers than it is today.
At WAHVE, we’ve built our company on the belief that balance is important – and we can help you achieve it as you phase into retirement. As we mentioned in our A Year for Balance blog, balancing isn’t the same as juggling. By definition, balance is about mental and emotional steadiness – taking care of our bodies and minds. When you work for WAHVE, you work from home with the schedule and workload that is best for you. We believe that we are only our best selves when we are fully invested, present and giving our full attention – whether that be to work or life.
What does work-life balance mean to you? Share your comments below.