Top Ten Work Trends Quarterly Updates

A diverse group of SIOP members are serving as Trend Champions for the people-related work trends that SIOP members collaboratively predicted to be the most impactful in 2021. Each Trend Champion has expertise in and professional passion for their trend subject. SIOP appreciates their service to the profession in providing quarterly updates on their chosen topics.

Find the full list of topics and links to the other Top 10 Work Trends here

  • Top 10 Work Trends

The Latest on Trend #7: Work-Life Integration

Angie McDermott


2021 1st Quarter Update

Let's face it; we've all been living subjects in our own work-life integration studies over the past year of the pandemic. So, it's not surprising the voluminous amount of coverage this subject has garnered in the popular press in Q1, including work by Stew Friedman and Alyssa Westring on Navigating Pandemic Fatigue As a Working Parent, Work-Life Balance Is a Cycle, Not an Achievement by Ioana Lupu and Mayra Luis-Castro, and Brian Robinson’s piece on Why ‘Work-Life Balance’ Has Become A Career Dinosaur.
There's also no shortage of opinions on what we call this phenomenon. Wendy Casper and colleagues call it Work-Nonwork Balance; others call it Work-Life Integration (an attempt to acknowledge and blend different life domains). Still, others argue we should abandon the former labels and call it Work-Life Negotiation. With this Workplace Trend, I plan to cast a wide net and include all the above, emphasizing empirical research. Whatever we call it, we know it matters for us personally, as leaders, and as scholars trying to provide understanding and guidance. We also know it predicts crucial workplace outcomes such as job satisfaction, turnover, and performance. 
So on to noteworthy research in Q1…
A team of I-O psychologists led by Kristen Shockley seized the day early in the pandemic, surveying dual-earner couples with young children to determine how their childcare strategies shifted when suddenly work and childcare were upended. While 37% of families relied more on women for all or some of the childcare, many couples (45%) chose more equalitarian strategies such as alternating days of work or flexing each day to the work demands of either the wife or the husband. Researchers followed up weeks later to see how the couples' strategies impacted family cohesion, marital tension, health, and job performance. Women who worked remotely and were responsible for ALL the childcare and their husbands fared the worst with the lowest family cohesion scores, highest relationship tension, and lowest job performance ratings. The alternating days strategy resulted in the highest sleep scores for both wives and husbands and lower psychological stress. So net, more empirical support for giving more support for working mothers! Can I get a hardy ‘Amen!”
At the SIOP Conference in April, we'll have at least 34 opportunities to learn more about how this critical topic is evolving. If your focus is Work-Life Balance or Integration as a practitioner or a researcher, I'd love to talk.

About Angie McDermott

Angie McDermott has coached hundreds of executives, served as an HR Leader for companies ranging from young, fast-growing organizations to Fortune 50 firms, and is a professor at the University of Texas in the McCombs School of Business. Working with companies including Procter & Gamble and Dell, she played key roles in building scalable, global people systems, including employment testing and worldwide engagement surveys, and strategic research. While raising her children, she ran her own firm focused on executive coaching and team development. Returning to corporate work, she has led HR departments for technology firms through growth from IPO to mergers and acquisitions. With specific focus on women and people of color, Angie helps leaders accelerate their own development and their ability to develop others.