Work-Life Balance: Questioning An Overused Term

Work-Life Balance: Questioning An Overused Term

Redefining Work-Life Balance at Starfish: A Thoughtful Exploration of a Commonly Used Term

Our recent internal survey brought some great news and affirmed that our Starfish team members feel remarkably at ease. This positive vibe is above all due to the special culture and work environment we've built and that sets us apart from other organizations. These news do not only make us very happy, but also very proud.

But what precisely characterizes this atmosphere, and how does it support the well-being of our workforce? We would like to share that with the world! Join us on a journey to answer these questions and collaboratively shape the future of work, creating an environment where innovation and people can flourish together

The Boundaries of the Work-Life Balance Concept

Undoubtedly, in today's fast-paced and interconnected world, finding a balance between work and life is really important. It affects every part of our lives. Numerous companies and human resource departments therefor are striving to establish and maintain this equilibrium. This undertaking is not solely altruistic; it also helps prevent problems like sickness and employees missing work. The modern workforce indeed is facing various challenges, from growing work demands to wanting personal fulfillment and meaningful time with family and friends. However, the way work-life balance is thought of and approached can also be part of the problem, as we find in Starfish.

Traditionally, work-life balance means trying to keep a balance between work and personal life, treating them as if they're in opposition. This idea comes from the desire to keep work and personal life separate. However, this separation appears to be artificial. The realities of our personal lives inevitably have an immense influence on our professional spheres. What happens in our personal lifes, whether joyful or challenging, at least subtly influences our work experiences. Especially in the age of constant connectivity and the expectation of being constantly available, challenging the possibility of separating work and privat life, keeping work and private life completely apart seems unrealistic, if not even impossible.

Can the Concept of Work-Life Balance Succeed?

The idea of work-life balance primarily was critized because it often looks at work in a negative way. To start with, it's potentially labelling individuals deeply committed to their careers as mere workaholics, instead of seeing them as passionate professionals. There are certainly people who have an unhealthy relationship with work, who work too much, or who suppress personal problems by overworking. However, is it fair and even healthy to think of work as just a necessary burden? Why not see work as something that can bring joy and fulfillment? Work has always been a part of human life, helping us survive and thrive. So, instead of keeping work separate from our personal lives, why not make it a meaningful and enjoyable part of life?

A Holistic Perspective: Happy Work, Happy Life

We don't have to think of work and personal life as opposites; they can actually blend well together. Both are important parts of our whole life, and we should see them as connected. This is called a holistic approach. Instead of just focusing on how well we do at work, we should also think about how work affects our overall happiness, relationships, and personal growth. While career accomplishments are undoubtedly important, a holistic view suggests that a fulfilling life is about a lot more than success at work. It encourages us to think about our well-being, relationships, values, and life goals. So, when we talk about balance, we should think beyond just work and include things like family, friends, personal values, dreams, and taking care of ourselves. It's not about treating self-care as a luxury; it's about seeing it as something necessary for keeping our energy and strength and living a happy life.

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As a result of criticism of this concept, the concept of work-life integration that challenges the traditional idea of work-life balance evolved. According to it, work doesn't have to make us miserable; it can actually bring positivity to many parts of our lives, going beyond just money. Instead of keeping work and life separate, we can therefor find ways to balance both aspects so they complement each other. It's about making our jobs and personal lives fit together smoothly, recognizing that sometimes they overlap, and that's okay. Achieving is about a lot more than finding a balance between work and life; it's about seeing work as a rewarding and valuable part of our overall experience. Embracing a complete and holistic approach, we believe that work can truly be fulfilling and enrich our lifes.

But how can employers implement this concept, how can they contribute to this? What can we do as a company, and what do we do at Starfish to support our team on this path?

What Employers Can Do

I) Considering the personโ€™s emotional life

Work-life integration seeks to overcome the separation of work and life. At Starfish, we therefor see and value our team members as whole individuals, considering their personal lives and feelings. This means not only showing an interest in the other person's private life, but also understanding if, for example, family difficulties mean that work is less effective than usual or a meeting cannot be attended.

II) Encourage flexible schedules

Work-life integration can be particularly successful if employees are given the freedom to choose their working hours. For example, freely selectable breaks can be taken in the morning if the child is ill or a doctor's appointment needs to be attended. As employees, we can motivate our employees to organize their days independently and adapt them to their personal needs.

III) Free choice of place of work

Recognizing that people work best in different environments, we allow our global team to work fully remotely. Some thrive on structure and working in a group setting, such as an office, whereas others find focus and vitality by working alone. This also enables a more flexible scheduling, as working hours can be arranged much more freely around various activities and breaks.

IV) Cultivating trust in employees and colleagues

Only by entrusting responsibility, working flexibly and remotely and thus the successful integration of work and life are possible. We avoid closely controlling every detail and instead trust our team members to manage their work in a way that suits them, adjusting to the ups and downs of their lives and working according to their own needs and rhythm.


We believe work can bring happiness, even during challenges. As employers, we aim for more than just financial stabilityโ€”we want our team to find satisfaction in their work. Work and life don't have to be at odds, and employers play a role in making this happen. We would like to motivate you to take a look at this perspective - for the benefit of both your employees and your company's success.