ETHRWorld reached out to HR leaders to understand what work-life integration means to them and how they are following this approach in life.

How are HRs integrating their work and life?

When CXOs, team leaders and managers set an example by practising work-life integration, it can motivate the rest of the organisation to reflect the same in their lives. ETHRWorld reached out to HR leaders to understand what work-life integration means to them and how they are following this approach in life.

In a recently published article by ETHRWorld, HR leaders talked about why looking for a work-life balance isn’t practical anymore. These days, rather than striving for a work-life balance, people are integrating their work and life by assessing their priorities, and need to find a blended approach that aligns with their circumstances, values and goals.

Please read the original article here.

Work-life integration is an individualised approach, as it’s a unique experience for each person. When CXOs, and managers, set an example by practising this concept, it can motivate the rest of the organisation to reflect the same in their lives. This time, we reached out to HR leaders to understand what work-life integration means to them andhow they are following this approach in life.

Brought teammates home and worked together!

Sreekanth K Arimanithaya, Global Talent and Enablement Services Leader, EY Global Delivery Services, says, “Your life purpose is a bigger circle, and work purposes come certainly within that, and it cannot be vice versa. Take care of yourself first, then your family, and then the organisation. That should be the order. This is something that I have learned from my bosses.” “Get energy from your personal life and take it to the organisation. This energy would be relationship-oriented, genuine, more lasting, and brings out the best in the organisation. But if it's the reverse, it would be a total disaster ending up with office politics, unwanted comparisons, and related frustrations,” he points out.

According to Arimanithaya, open communication and transparency with one’s family and
teammates are very important to integrate both work and life. “Your family should know your team and your team should know your family,” he says. There are days when Arimanithaya works from his farmhouse. And, during the pandemic, he even got his team to his home to work from there. When many people outside the circle were surprised about that, he was able to show that the collaboration they had was wonderful.

Not a trade-off! Be fully present in the moment

Kamal Mampilly, Chief Human Resources Officer, Geojit Financial Services, says, “When I started, I saw people who struggled with work-life balance and who thought that it was a trade-off. I deliberately chose not to make it a trade-off. It is also about anticipating changes in your life and adapting to it.”

“We put on different hats and don different profiles, such as a son, a husband, a father, and so on. Just like starting a family, one also needs to prepare oneself for the professional demands and career growth which takes a certain level of investment from a professional,” he adds.

According to Mampilly, one way to manage this is to be by being fully present in the moment. “People tend to mimic the personal and professional boundaries which are set by leaders. Hence, it is important for me to respect their personal space and keep mine too. If I have a capable team or build a capable team, then my personal involvement is limited to only the critical areas, where my presence is necessary,” he puts forward.

“The key is not to micromanage and give others space to grow. A leader is as good as his/her team. There may be crisis situations that test your patience and tend to blur the boundaries, but it helps to remember that such situations are often short-lived and you need to see through them,” Mampilly asserts.

Set realistic goals

Mehernosh Mehta, CHRO, Gati, realised the improbability of achieving a work-life balance during the pandemic waves. He says the work-from-home concept which was introduced to ensure the health and safety of the workforce actually removed the thin line of separation between work hours and after-work hours.

“Ultimately, it boils down to how you prioritise things both in your personal and professional spaces on a particular day. If you chase for a sustained work-life balance, you are in for disappointment. To be at peace, one needs to find purpose and meaning in the work she or he does. Once you get that clarity, you'll be in a better position to invest your time and energy productively and judiciously,” he adds.

Mehta thinks the best way to manage work-life priorities is by setting realistic goals. He prefers to dedicate a specific time span every week and almost every day as ‘me-time.’ “Maintaining harmony between work and life is a perennial challenge. Priorities change at different phases in a career span. One needs to go with the flow and count the blessings,” he says.

Integration of physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual wellbeing

The profound realisation that achieving a work-life balance isn't just practical unfolded when Rajiv Naithani, Chief People Officer, Infogain, transitioned from a onedimensional perspective, where work consumed his every focus, to a more expansive and comprehensive outlook on life. While he still firmly believes in the importance of loving one's work and giving it one’s all, he now realises that work is just one facet of a rich and multifaceted life.

This shift in his perspective began with the recognition that life encompasses a multitude of crucial facets, including family, personal wellbeing, health, social connections and personal growth. In his pre-transformational state, Naithani says he was a workaholic, and he even wore that label with pride.

“This transformation journey commenced nearly eight years ago when I embarked on a deeply introspective exploration into ontology and spirituality. These philosophical pursuits brought about significant shifts in my overall life perspective.” Naithani says.

For Naithani, life is a beautifully intricate tapestry, woven from the harmonious integration of physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. To nurture his emotional and spiritual wellbeing, he actively practises emotional intelligence, mindfulness and meditation. As a dedicated yoga practitioner and enthusiastic cyclist, he prioritises physical health, embracing these activities as integral components of his daily routine.

Naithani made a conscious adjustment in how he approached personal vacations. “In the past, I used to carry my laptop with me during vacations, allowing work to intrude upon my leisure time. However, my perspective on vacations has evolved. Now, I firmly believe that vacations are meant for relaxation and rejuvenation, where work should not encroach. I no longer pack my laptop on personal trips, trusting in our team's competence and our ability to handle urgent matters via phone calls, if necessary,” he says.

“This change not only allows me to fully immerse myself in the vacation experience, but also underscores the importance of work-life boundaries. Additionally, I've dedicated specific hours to family and personal interests, actively seeking activities that contribute to my overall wellbeing,” he adds.

Through these adjustments, Naithani has not only realised the practicality of work-life integration but also the necessity of nurturing overall wellbeing. “It's all about making deliberate choices that prioritise both work and life by ensuring that each complements and enriches the other, rather than allowing one to dominate. This approach ensures that I am not only a more productive professional, but also a happier, healthier and more fulfilled individual, capable of contributing positively to all aspects of my life,” he points out.

Beyond these distinct approaches shared by HR leaders, a few other ways to lead worklife integration include following the four-day workweek, job sharing, co-working with childcare or elder parents, time-clocking and workcation. Though the way of following work-life integration can differ, clear communication of guidelines regarding work hours, expectations for availability and time-off policies is crucial in managing work and personal lives effectively without any clashes.