We live in a 24/7 culture that’s always on. With the ability to stay connected around the clock, the lines between work and home have blurred.
While some employees are still searching for a work-life balance, a younger generation of workers are focused on work-life integration. That shift has happened quickly, with millennials welcoming the change.
When you see a mother answering emails on her iPad during her child’s soccer match, or a dad Skyping with a colleague during a picnic with the family, that’s work-life integration.
Work-life balance and work-life integration can be hard to manage, but we found successful executives who have figured out how to remain successful while still making time for their friends and family.
Following are 17 execs who have a unique approach to balancing and integrating work and life.
Nooyi doesn't believe women can have it all, but she does believe a balance can be achieved.
'I don't think women can have it all. I just don't think so. We pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all. My husband and I have been married for 34 years. And we have two daughters.
'And every day you have to make a decision about whether you are going to be a wife or a mother, in fact, many times during the day you have to make those decisions,' she tells The Atlantic.
She admits that 'meticulously planning' her life has allowed her to be a 'decent parent,' and she believes her daughters, if asked, would say she is a good mom.
To balance her work and life Nooyi allows her personal assistant to give her children permission to do certain things when they call the office. Nooyi provides her assistant with a set of questions that when answered correctly allow her children to play with friends, play video games, and take part in other activities.
'At any moment you are going to feel guilty about what you're not doing, like today I'm missing the World Economic Forum in Europe to move my daughter into her dorm in USC,' EY CEO Mark Weinberger tells Time.
Among our list of executives, Weinberger has perhaps the most family-focused approach to work-life balance. Following a meeting in China, EY's CEO was asked if he would be taking selfies with his employees at the Great Wall. He said that wouldn't be possible because he needed to be back in Washington, DC, the following day to take his daughter to her driving test.
His message has resonated with employees. 'Afterwards, I got hundreds of emails: Not a single person remembered the terrific speech I gave, but everybody remembered I went home for my daughter,' he tells Time.
'It brought home to me how powerful leading by example is. You can have all the initiatives you want saying you can have flexibility, but until some of the real leaders make the choice to choose family, I don't think people feel like they have real permission to do it,' he adds.
'I'm the mother of three young children now! Of course it isn't easy, but both sides of my life are incredibly rewarding, so it is worth making it work,' Lake tells Worth.com.
'I am better at my job for being a mother and vice versa. I will always need to compromise and make choices -- you just have to work hard at making the right choice day by day. When push comes to shove, my children always come first, and I am lucky that I work in an environment that respects that.'
Business Insider recently attended the top 25 most powerful in banking gala hosted by American Banker, during the ceremony Lake admitted that sometimes she gets home after her children are asleep. Rather than harp on her missed family time, she says, 'sometimes you just have to move on.'
Seven years into his tenure at Google, CFO Patrick Pichette called it quits. In a very candid memo, posted by Google cofounder Larry Page, Pichette explained he was leaving to spend more time with his wife. He also spoke about work-life balance.
'After nearly 7 years as CFO, I will be retiring from Google to spend more time with my family. Yeah, I know you've heard that line before. We give a lot to our jobs. I certainly did. And while I am not looking for sympathy, I want to share my thought process because so many people struggle to strike the right balance between work and personal life,' he wrote.
He goes on to talk about his personal decisions for leaving the company for his family.
'In the end, life is wonderful, but nonetheless a series of trade-offs, especially between business/professional endeavours and family/community. And thankfully, I feel I'm at a point in my life where I no longer have to make such tough choices anymore. And for that I am truly grateful. Carpe Diem,' he says.
Marissa Mayer took only two weeks' maternity leave when her son was born. But she didn't compromise on spending time with her newborn: She had a nursery built next to her office.
Of course not everyone has the opportunity to bring their children to work. For those workers, Mayer offers a simple suggestion: 'Find your rhythm.'
'Avoiding burnout isn’t about getting three square meals or eight hours of sleep. It’s not even necessarily about getting time at home,' she tells Bloomberg.
'I have a theory that burnout is about resentment. And you beat it by knowing what it is you’re giving up that makes you resentful. I tell people: Find your rhythm. Your rhythm is what matters to you so much that when you miss it you’re resentful of your work.
Eric Severson was responsible for leading a movement toward 'work-life integration' at GAP. In 2005, he spoke with the top female executives at Best Buy, and they made him realise that work-life balance isn't achievable. Instead, 'it's about work-life integration in the 21st century,' he explains to Forbes.
'People use their own ingenuity' at all times of the day and no longer 'make things' that require them to be in a static location for a specific amount of time, Severson says. He realised people need to be held accountable for what they are required to get done, not for how long they work or how much 'face time' with people they have during the day.
Sarah Friar is another tech mogul who rejects the idea of work-life balance and instead supports work-life integration.
'Find all of the reasons to say yes, not all of the reasons to say no,' she tells Women 2.0. Friar embraces her job and motherhood by rejecting guilt.
'The CFO might leave work early to buy a birthday present, but she doesn't lose any sleep over stepping out. Same goes if she has to answer an email while at the playground with her son,' explains Paysavvy. 'Sure, she's not shutting work down at 5 p.m. every day, but she's also not chaining herself to her desk for those eight hours. Her personal and professional lives bleed into each other … and for Friar, that works just fine.'
'The only way that anyone can balance work and family or work and personal life, is if everyone within an organisation agrees that 'life balance' is critical to the overall well-being of employees and the productivity, and effectiveness of the company,' Jabal tells Business Insider.
Jabal says flexibility is key when finding your work-life balance. She has no problem leaving work early for family dinners if it means taking a few hours at the end of the night to finish her work. 'Rigid work hours and work location make it much more challenging,' Jabal says.
Her plan seems pretty straightforward. 'Home an hour in the morning, get kids to school, work in the office 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., have dinner with kids, work three hours at night,' she says.
Employees put in the same number of hours but spend a critical few hours with their family members. Jabal also says both parents need to make sure parenting is 50-50 from day one. 'It's not just the mum's job. It's the parents' job,' she says.
Intuit CEO Brad Smith admits he missed some moments with his wife and daughters when they were growing up. 'My daughters are the reason I do everything,' Smith tells Time. 'But there are so many moments in hindsight I would have gone back and done differently.'
Smith says we all face 'rubber' and 'crystal' life moments. Rubber moments are easy to bounce back from, such as missing one of 100 soccer games. Smith says 'do not ever drop a crystal moment' such as a graduation or the birth of a child.
After being named CEO at Intuit, Smith says 'from that moment we started daddy-daughter breakfasts -- on Saturday I took one and on Sunday I'd take the other, and we'd talk about whatever they wanted.'
Ruth Porat doesn't believe in work-life balance. Instead, she encourages her employees to find a mix of their family and work lives. 'The mix will shift depending on needs in both places, but the two should never be fully isolated from each other,' she tells Politico.
Porat shares the story about long nights spent at Morgan Stanley during the height of the 2008 financial crisis. 'On one of those nights when we were working through the night, I came home and my three boys left me a little note because they knew I'd at least come home and shower,' Porat explains.
'In their own words, three different personalities underscored how very proud they were, and how important they thought the work was.'
Branson is a big fan of the work-life mix.
'Rather than thinking of these two aspects of your life as antagonistic, why not combine them? As I've often said, I don't divide work and play: It's all living,' he tells Entrepreneur.
Branson says when trying to balance home life with your career, both can suffer. The billionaire entrepreneur admits that he will book time with his family in his work diary.
Branson also makes sure that all of his employees understand that sometimes family emergencies will happen and during those times he needs to leave the office and be left alone.
He will even explain work problems to his children so they can learn about life from his perspective. Branson believes engaging with your children about your work life can help them solve problems in their own lives.
Sheryl Sandberg tells The Business Journals that work-life balance is 'a misguided metaphor for grasping the relationship between work and the rest of life; the image of the scale forces you to think in terms of trade-offs instead of the possibilities for harmony.'
Sandberg says the idea that work needs to compete with life ignores the 'more nuanced reality of our humanity.' She argues that life is 'actually the intersection and interaction of the four domains of work, home, community, and the private self.'
She believes you can never have it all at once, but admits that you can bring the four domains into close alignment to achieve 'as much harmony as possible.'
Robert Ward doesn't just attempt to balance his own work-life situation; he also watches out for his employees. In November, Ward 'delayed a drug submission to US regulators to avoid rushing its filing and to respect employees' holiday plans,' according to Bloomberg.
The FDA was requiring that Radius Health submit 12 months' worth of data before the end of December. 'When we think about the agency today we want a chance to dot every i and cross every t and take our time,' Ward told Bloomberg.
'It's the holistic element, right -- so it's individuals in the company who just completed a huge milestone of submitting our MAA -- did we really want to ask them to skip Thanksgiving and Christmas this year?'
'I have had ample time to reflect on the decisions I made in balancing (or failing to balance) my job with the rest of my life,' Callan writes in The New York Times.
'The fact that I call it 'the rest of my life' gives you an indication where work stood in the pecking order,' he adds.
Callan admits that emails, meetings, and other work obligations 'crept in' to her life. She explains that 'working tirelessly for 20 years in order to take the next 20 off isn't really balance.'
Callan says 18 hour workdays are a sign you're underestimating your own worth. 'I was talented, intelligent, and energetic,' Callen reflects. 'I didn't have to be so extreme.' She believes employees need to realise that they have more to offer than their availability.
Ryan Smith might take the most extreme approach to ensuring a healthy work-life balance.
'I knew that I needed to do some fine-tuning. So I took a step back, reevaluated things and then developed a strategy. First, I calculated how and where I spend my time. This assessment has allowed me to be realistic and selective about what I do and when I do it,' he writes in The Wall Street Journal.
His approach is a lot more qualitative than some of the other executives on our list. 'Each week, I examine the categories of my life -- father, husband, CEO, self -- and identify the specific actions that help me feel successful and fulfilled in these capacities.'
Smith says his weekly examination allows him to do 'everything in my power to address my needs and the needs of those around me. This is important because I can't lose sight of the business agenda, and we've all seen or read about what it looks like when you lose sight of your family's needs.'
He also decided early on that there would be 'no screens during family time.' To reach that goal he leaves his phone in the car when he gets home.
Former Qwest COO Teresa Taylor says the best way to balance work and life is to 'stay in the moment.'
'When you're at work in a meeting, be there. When you're at home, be there. If you're in a business meeting, don't be wishing to be somewhere else. Be present where you are, and don't feel guilty,' she tells Forbes.
Taylor encourages women to make their home life a priority.
'When I struggled at work, it was a relief to go home. I looked forward to it. So if there is something wrong at home, you need to work it out. It will always be nagging at you at the office. At the end of the day, work is work,' she explained to Forbes.
'You might change jobs, companies, you may not even work at all. But your cornerstone is your home life. It's a grounding point you can always come back to,' she added.
Taylor also learned to talk about her kids while at work. She has even asked her personal assistant to pick up her children if something comes up at work. She also pitches in to help her employees if they have family needs they can't meet because of work.
When Fortune asked Kim Getty about her Sunday routine, she said it all comes down to family.
'I do my very best to always dedicate my Sundays to my family. Here's why. Personally, I've never bought into the idea of 'work-life balance.' I think it places unrealistic expectations on women, and ends up driving people crazy when they try to be good at everything all the time.'
The busy advertising executive admits that she has 'two full-time jobs' between work at Deutsch LA and raisers her two daughters.
'I reject the idea of balance in favour of the seesaw: I go back and forth, giving 100% of my attention where it's needed most at the moment. That means I don't miss a school play or a recital, and when I'm there, I'm not checking emails.'
Getty admits that getting three or four of her family members at the dinner table every Monday through Friday is considered a victory.
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