As someone who works in the legal field, what do the words “work-life balance” mean to you? Do these words conjure up something that you feel you already have, or do they remind you of something that just seems… unobtainable?
Whatever the words conjure up, it’s clear that the concept of “work-life balance” is great. But is it realistic?
So, here is an idea. Why don’t we strive for work-life integration instead? Here are three scenarios where we’ll show you what can help you attain work-life integration.
Why Work-Life Balance Isn’t Feasible
The concept of “work-life balance” puts a lot of emphasis on your work life and your personal life being perfectly in tune, all the time, every day. Which proves the point that it can’t be feasible.
There will be days where work must take priority over everything else you do. The client who needs your undivided attention to settle a claim. Afternoon or evening meetings with clients that are trying to buy a house. Those times spent researching articles and sections to determine some obscure estate law on a tough case. Whatever the reason, there are always going to be times when you need to put the rest of your life on hold and focus on work.
Similarly, there’ll also be times when work can, or needs to take a backseat. Your clients aren’t as active during certain parts of the year (snowbirds, anyone?), so you have more flexibility. You take a vacation and your spouse says it’s a time to reconnect, just the two of you, with no phones allowed. A sick family member requires that little extra TLC. There are going to be days when you can place more emphasis on your personal life.
So, rather than strive for something that isn’t feasible, why don’t we just turn our attention to something that’s a little easier to achieve? As a society, we should consider achieving work-life integration. What’s that, you ask? Read on to find out!
Striving for Work-Life Integration
Work-life integration is an approach that takes all areas of life – work, home or family, community, personal, and health – into consideration. It’s about finding the harmonious synergy between all the things you find most important. How? By leveraging technology to intertwine your work and your personal life.
What do we mean by this? Well, technology has opened many new ways for us to collaborate and work virtually, especially in the last few years, and this advancement provides vast new ways of taking advantage of work schedule flexibility. Consider the following:
- Video conference calling capabilities have progressed enough that, when you need to hold a brainstorming session with a client, technology can let you do that remotely. No more need for face-to-face meetings.
- Every phone has data capabilities, giving instant connectivity to the Internet at your fingertips – a far cry from when Internet was only through landline cables and you needed to be physically plugged in to it to check your emails.
- Wi-Fi connections allow for the opportunity to turn any place with it into your office – any documents or files that are stored on a Cloud-based platform can be accessed via an Internet or data connection from any device, at any time.
Lots of technologies these days take work-life integration into account above all others. They allow for collaboration at a time that works for everyone.
Two Collaboration Tools That Can Help Improve Work-Life Integration
So, technology has provided new ways of working. Let’s take a bit of a deeper look at how these two collaboration tools – Microsoft Teams and SharePoint – can help improve work-life integration.
Work-Life Integration with Microsoft Teams
You’ve been asked to help settle an estate for a widower who recently died, and there are several out of town family members who need to be kept in the loop, but can’t make the trip to your office. Worse, some of them are in different time zones than you. So, what can you do?
Microsoft Teams for Office 365 is a Cloud-based messaging and collaboration solution that acts as your ultimate workspace. With Microsoft Teams, you can communicate with team members and clients alike through individual or group chat capabilities, manage document sharing and collaboration in real-time, and, if linked with Phone System, Calling Plan, or Direct Routing, you can host voice or video calls, too.
Because Teams is available as an app on your mobile device as well as on your desktop or laptop, those family members in different time zones can connect with you whenever it suits you. Got some time while you’re waiting for your daughter to finish her swim practice? Pull up the file they need you to look at, and have a quick conversation with them through the Teams app on your mobile phone.
Work-Life Integration Using SharePoint
You’re a Junior Partner at a boutique law firm, and you’re finally getting to go on a much-needed vacation. You’re at the airport, waiting to fly out. Then, you get a notification on your phone. Your friend, another Junior Partner’s asked you if you’d have some free time at the airport to look over a deposition before she sends it on to the Senior Partner you both work for. You’ve got an hour before your flight boards, so you decide you might as well help her out.
Pulling up the Microsoft SharePoint app on your phone, you take twenty minutes and give the document in question a thorough once-over. Good thing you did, because you found three minor typos. Saving the document to your phone, you’re able to send it back to her.
This is work-life integration – being able to share and work on documents when it suits you.