What counts as work and what counts as free time? Often we do not know that anymore. This phenomenon is called Work-Life Blend. Companies are swarming with this idea and lure potential employees with the promise to get more flexibility in return. When the weather is good, you can sit outside, drink a coffee and answer your e-mails in a beautiful surrounding. Sounds like a good solution until your boss writes e-mails at two o’clock at night and expects an immediate answer.

Mixing profession and private life completely – is that something we want? Sure some workaholics do not mind these blurred lines and define their lives via their profession, but this does not count for the majority of people.

Generation Z wants to define flexibility for themselves.

Not all people can deal with this lifestyle, which can even lead to health problems. It disturbs proper sleep and puts personal relationships aside. Work-life blending can become an institutionalized nightmare synonymous with personal self-exploitation.

Generation Z, for example, will not agree to this new lifestyle. This generation wants precise structures with a fixed time frame for work and their private life. Of course, they would also like to have some flexibility from time to time e.g. when their child is sick, or when they need maintenance work done in their apartment. However, Generation Z does not want their company to define flexibility for them.

The perfect Work-Life Balance might be Work-Life Separation.

Higher, faster, further to remain competitive – this lifestyle puts young people under a lot of pressure and can lead to burnout and depression. In addition to performance and speed, we have become more and more online focused (#FacebookFriendsOnly) and are overwhelmed with information we cannot process anymore both in everyday life and at work.

Also, there are no studies that show that the individual job performance is enhanced by an ever-widened mix of professional and private life. On the contrary, many advantages arise when people have a particular time when they can stop their work (so a 9-5 job might not be the worst choice after all).

Thus, the new alternative for Work-Life Blend might be the exact opposite: Work-Life Separation. Work-Life Separation would then be based on a clear separation between work and leisure.

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Morgaine Gerlach
✦ Morgaine has an MPhil in European Studies from Trinity College Dublin and a BBA in Global Project and Change Management from Windesheim Honours College ✦ She lived in Germany, The Netherlands, Finland, Spain, Ireland, Egypt, and is currently working as a Policy Advisor in Brussels✦