The Great Resignation has led to a Great Re-evaluation about the place of work in our lives. People aren’t just quitting their jobs, they’re rethinking what they want out of life. What people are resigning from is a culture of “workism”: the idea that we’re defined primarily by our work, and everything else — i.e. life — must fit into the increasingly small space that is left. And they are realizing how backwards our thinking about work-life has been. 

Yes, work is important. It can give us purpose and meaning. It’s an essential part of a thriving life. But it shouldn’t take the place of life. 

The time has come to do away with the idea of “work-life” altogether. Language matters. In the years before the pandemic, much of our language about work was taken from warfare — killing it, crushing it, defeating competitors. This helped fuel a perpetual state of fight-or-flight that in turn fueled burnout. It also supported the zero-sum idea of work and life reflected in the myth of “work-life balance.” 

The truth is that work and life are on the same side, so they don’t need to be balanced. They rise and fall together — increase your life’s overall well-being and you’ll also be more effective at work. Believing that the two can be balanced, and that when we achieve this balance we can “have it all,” is a recipe for certain failure. “Work-life integration” is a definite improvement because it’s based on the idea that when we bring our whole selves to work — whether in-person or remote — we don’t have to choose between success in our work and success in other parts of our lives. 

Our work and our lives are always integrated, so acknowledging that truth in the way we talk about our lives makes it easier to sustain. That was a step in the right direction, and now we can take it one step further with “life-work integration.” 

And to reflect that, we’re making a symbolic but important change and renaming our Work-Life Integration Hub (in collaboration with Deloitte and edited by Jen) the Life-Work Integration Hub. 

It’s a way of going back and fixing a fundamental flaw in the code that led to an increasingly unstable operating system, along with more and more crashes. And people are definitely crashing. Even before the pandemic, we were in the midst of a growing epidemic of stress and burnout. In 2019, just 10 months before the pandemic began, the World Health Organization officially recognized burnout as a workplace crisis.

At the same time, the Great Resignation continues, with a new record number of workers — 4.5 million — deciding to leave their jobs just before the holidays in November. Among the key reasons are burnout and the demand for more flexibility. According to a recent global survey by Future Forum, 76% of workers want more flexibility about where they work, and 93% want greater flexibility on when they work. But it’s not flexibility for its own sake — behind the desire for flexibility is a desire to recalibrate our relationship between our lives and our work. That’s what’s at the heart of the Great Re-evaluation. People want their lives to come first. 

And in response to this collective mindset shift, forward-thinking companies are rethinking their approach to well-being. It’s no longer just a perk or something to be squeezed in as work allows. Life-work integration is about embedding well-being into the workflow itself. It’s about well-being as a set of guiding principles that we can design our day around. It starts with asking ourselves what our non-negotiables are, what are the things in our lives that are critical components of who we are and who we want to be, and that allow us to show up as our best selves. 

In a world of life-work integration, we redefine success for ourselves, and work is just one way to fulfill that definition. As Adam Grant put it recently in The Wall Street Journal, “For several generations, we’ve organized our lives around our work. Our jobs have determined where we make our homes, when we see our families and what we can squeeze in during our downtime. It might be time to start planning our work around our lives.”

As the Great Resignation shows, millions agree. Life-work integration is a framework on which we can build a way of living and working that allows us to truly thrive.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

Author(s)

  • Jen Fisher

    Chief Well-being Officer at Deloitte and Editor-at-Large, Life-Work Integration at Thrive Global

    Jen Fisher is a leading voice on workplace well-being and creating human-centered organizational cultures. She frequently speaks and writes about building a culture of well-being at work and serves as Deloitte’s chief well-being officer in the United States, where she drives the strategy and innovation around work-life, health, and wellness. Jen is also the host of WorkWell, a podcast series on the latest work-life trends and author of the book, Work Better Together: How to Cultivate Strong Relationships to Maximize Well-Being and Boost Bottom Lines (McGraw-Hill, June 2021). Jen is a healthy lifestyle enthusiast and seeks to infuse aspects of wellness in everything she does. She believes self-care is a daily pursuit and considers herself an exercise fanatic, sleep advocate, and book nerd! As a breast cancer survivor, she is passionate about advocating for women’s health and sharing her recovery journey. Jen lives in Miami with her husband, Albert and dog, Fiona.

    Follow her on LinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.

  • Arianna Huffington

    Founder & CEO of Thrive

    Arianna Huffington is the founder and CEO of Thrive, the founder of The Huffington Post, and the author of 15 books, including Thrive and The Sleep Revolution. In 2016, she launched Thrive, a leading behavior change tech company with the mission of changing the way we work and live by ending the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success. She has been named to Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union. She serves on numerous boards, including Onex and The B Team. Her last two books, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder and The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night At A Time, both became instant international bestsellers. Most recently, she wrote the foreword to Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive: End Burnout, Increase Well-being, and Unlock Your Full Potential with the New Science of Microsteps.