By UnityPoint Health on Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Finding the right work-life "blend" for you.

This blog was written by Kevin Vermeer, President and CEO of Unity Point Health:

Working professionals are well-acquainted with messages about balancing and/or blending life in and outside the office, but we aren’t always so great about following them — myself included. That shuffle is especially challenging now when work can easily be taken home through pocket-sized smart phones.

UnityPoint Health Psychiatrist, Cornelius Gucfa, MD, prescribes five ways we can approach a home and work blend that makes us feel more content and fulfilled:

Work-life blend vs. Work-life balance

The balance and blend definitions can be confusing, but Dr. Gucfa says work-life balance is an older, more traditional concept.

“It suggests our work lives and our home lives are separate and compartmentalized,” Dr. Gucfa says. “It assumes a separation between work and life and proposes that people should have them in equal proportions. Work-life balance is a concept including the proper prioritization between work and lifestyle, keeping work separate from home and vice versa.”

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working mom

On the other hand, Dr. Gucfa says work-life blend is a newer concept, more in touch with modern times. He says this evolution was spurred by technology, which brings home to work and work to home. Since technology is everywhere, it’s difficult to separate personal and professional lives. 

“Work-life blend suggests a mixing together of different facets of our lives. We don’t need to separate one from the other, rather we try to integrate all facets of our lives, looking for the right blend to suit the individual. Blending, not balancing, is more realistic in our current world,” Dr. Gucfa says.

 5 tips for achieving work-life blend

Dr. Gucfa says everyone has different needs, so your work-life blend might be completely different than your neighbors’. However, he identifies these five suggestions to help you achieve an ideal mix.

  1. Identify schedule flexibility. Take advantage of the flexibility your company offers, which could include working less hours in the summer, taking longer lunch breaks for exercise opportunities or working from home.
  2. Keep an open dialogue. Managers and employees should feel free and uninhibited to discuss problems and issues that come up in the workplace. This often increases employee satisfaction. An unhappy work life is naturally going to spill over into home life and vice versa.
  3. Use vacation time. It’s important to schedule and plan time off. Everyone needs time to recharge and decompress from job stress. When you come back refreshed and rejuvenated, you will be happier, more productive and better at work.
  4. Focus on well-being. It’s important to blend healthy habits into your lifestyle. Computers, cell phones, internet, fast food restaurants, automobiles, microwaves — all of these things have added convenience but also made us sedentary. Exercise increases our blood flow, gives us energy, increases our metabolism and helps us sleep better.
  5. Update and reevaluate often. Your work-life blend is constantly changing and frequently needs to be updated or reevaluated based on what’s currently happening in your life. Dr. Gucfa says there is no across the board work-life allocation that works for every single person. Make sure you revisit your work-life blend often to identify changes and shift when it’s appropriate for you.

Read on to find out if you’re working too much and the effect on your overall health and personal life.

VermeerKevin Vermeer assumed the role President and CEO of UnityPoint Health (formerly Iowa Health System) in January 2016. He's served the organization in a variety of leadership roles since 2000. Vermeer has over two decades of experience managing financial operations for leading health care organizations. Vermeer participates in community organizations, such as the Iowa Business Council and Greater Des Moines Committee. Vermeer also serves on the Healthiest State Initiative Board.