The Approaches to Work-life Integration with Ashish Kothari and Scott Shute

Balancing our career and personal life is nearly impossible. We all know that sometimes one will always demand more than the other. If you constantly switch gears between ‘work mode’ and ‘home mode,’ you might fall off balance and burn out. What if there’s a way to make it all work together instead of keeping them apart? That’s the beauty of work-life integration.

In this article, Ashish Kothari and Scott Shute, Founder of Changing Work, discuss powerful approaches to work-life integration.

Our world of work has undergone drastic changes over the years. The digital age has fueled this change, and suddenly, we can work from anywhere. As Scott Shute puts it, not only are we working at home, but we’re sleeping at work. 

Nowadays, we often hear the terms work-life balance and work-life integration, but do we know the difference between the two? Although these words are commonly used interchangeably, they have very different meanings.

Work-life balance vs. Work-life integration

On the one hand, work-life balance emphasizes drawing a clear boundary between work and life. The goal is to divide our time equally between work and life and try not to let one dominate over the other.

On the other hand, work-life integration is all about blending our work and personal lives. This approach means that work and life are not entirely separate and can coexist harmoniously as long as we have the flexibility to combine our responsibilities.

However, Scott has a different perspective: work-life integration is about our attitude toward work. We often view work as a dreadful part of our lives. You’ll notice this attitude when you think about how you feel about Mondays versus how you feel about Fridays. 

Work-life integration challenges the notion that work is a burden and redefines it as a source of fulfillment. Ashish says that if work is a source of joy, you don’t retire from it. You do it because it’s the bigger “why” that drives you. Scott adds that if work is done right, it can have the same level of joy, beauty, and creativity that the rest of our life has.

The importance of finding purpose and meaning at work

Historically, workplaces didn’t consider individual employee happiness or fulfillment. Workers were often seen as cogs in a machine, especially during the industrial times when people were treated like interchangeable parts. 

Nowadays, most companies in the digital age realize that their employees are the most important and valuable resource that they have. Good leaders now focus on improving the workplace by helping employees find a personal sense of purpose in their jobs.

People value meaningful work, and organizations can influence that. Scott mentioned that nine out of ten workers say they would take a job for less money if it meant more meaning in their work. When work aligns with what you care about personally, it makes you more motivated and productive. 

How to approach work-life integration

We all aspire to have a fulfilling and productive career, but how can we actually make it a reality? Here, Scott shares some practical steps that you can implement for integrating work and personal life.

  1. Find your ikigai

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that helps you find your “Purpose of life” by considering what you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. This approach helps you align your career path with your values and passions.

  1. Identify and live by your values.

Understanding your core values can help you make more fulfilling personal and professional decisions. Reflect on what excites or upsets you; these emotions can reveal what you value most.

It’s important to know that work-life integration goes beyond the individual level. Organizations play a massive part in influencing this effort as well.

Conclusion

For work-life integration to take effect, we need to do more than talk about creating meaningful work, cultivating mindfulness and well-being practices, and practicing compassion. We need actually to bring these values to life! The organization’s policies must support these values, especially during hard times.

Fortunately, many companies are now taking the initiative. Scott talks about how LinkedIn programs that focus on mindfulness, compassion, and well-being helped employees feel better and work better. But, he stresses that for these benefits to take root and make a difference, they must be backed up by the company’s overall practices. 

For a company to be genuinely better for everyone—including employees, customers, and even the company’s bottom line—it needs to make deep and lasting changes that support work-life integration at all levels, not just in what it says but also in what it actually does.


Balancing our career and personal life is nearly impossible. But there’s a way to make it all work together instead of keeping them apart. In this article, Ashish Kothari and Scott Shute, Founder of Changing Work, break down the powerful approaches to work-life integration.

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn.

Listen to the podcast with Ashish and Scott below.

Access and subscribe to all of the episodes of the Happiness Squad Podcast here.

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With the focus on enhancing joy, health, love and meaning in your life, my transformational approach is interdisciplinary and integrates learnings from spiritual wisdom traditions, philosophy, positive psychology, neuroscience and organizational development.

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