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Do You Chase Work-Life Balance Or Work-Life Boundaries?

While it’s an admirable goal, chasing work-life balance can often result in heightened feelings of inadequacy or pressure because it’s so elusive. If that’s the case, how do we feel good about the way we distribute our time?

Research published by Organisational Dynamics Journal suggests we set work-life boundaries instead of striving for work-life balance. They recommend we base these boundaries on our personality and/or our preferred working style.

The research divides us into 3 distinct work-style categories. Which one are you?

1. The Separator

Separators like to have defined times to separate work from non-work activities. These are people who will not respond to emails or take phone calls outside of their designated contact times (e.g. before 8am and after 6pm). This group will not be happy working extended hours or being on-call.

2. The Integrator

Integrators switch between work and non-work activities throughout the day. For example, the Integrator may attend to emails before their children wake up in the mornings, then perform their parenting responsibilities, arriving at work around 10am. Their actual working hours may be the same as their 9-5 colleagues. However they choose to fit work around other life priorities. For this group, flexible working hours are important.

3. The Cycler

People in this group tend to have cyclical work. Their year or week is divided into high and low workloads. Examples include FIFO workers or members of the fire brigade where workdays may be long but these are balanced with multiple days of rec leave. This cyclical workload allows them to focus intently on work and then shift their focus to their hobbies or family with the same intensity.

Understanding Personal Work Styles

These 3 distinctive working styles emphasise the importance of finding the right person for each job. For example, the Integrator could never survive long-term in a cyclic position and the Separator will have a hard time understanding how the Integrator switches between work and family.

Placing people in roles that don’t suit their personality will cause feelings of stress, anxiety and overwhelm.


That’s why it’s important to delve beyond skill sets to look at an individual’s personal work style. During recruitment, it’s about finding the right match. For current employees, it’s about open communication and working together.

Whether you are looking for the right person or having difficulties managing existing staff, the team at End2End Business Solutions are here to help and advise you. For more information or assistance, call 02 8977 4002.