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Inbound 2022 - Work-life harmony is the new “new normal”

Written by Abigail Souza

Inbound ’22 – what an experience! It was my first time attending HubSpot’s conference, and as a marketer, I can tell you that it was jam-packed with lots of great content and amazing guest speakers. I mean Viola Davis and Obama in the same week!? Who doesn’t want to listen in on that!?

But one of my favorite sessions I sat in on was on the topic of mindful communication and how employees and companies alike need to consider mindfulness to adapt to this new remote world of working. There are so many articles and webinars on this topic, but I was surprised to learn quite a few new things from Upasna Gautam, Product Manager of Digital News Platforms at CNN.

Gautam described mindful communication as “the ability to handle different types of communication with clarity and empathy.” And in order to do this, we need to know our audience. She says that it’s important to take time to get to know your team, stakeholders, clients, and customers to understand and listen to what they need. When we listen and observe, Gautam says, we’re able to deliver value when we communicate, ask high-quality questions, and walk away with clear, action-oriented next steps. This approach to communication brings purpose to meetings and conversations, and reduces the thought we’ve all had, “well that was a waste of time.”

What stood out to me the most from Gautam’s presentation though, was her perspective on the ever-present goal of achieving work-life balance. The technical definition of balance is “a state of equilibrium between contrasting, opposing, or interacting elements.” So, if we use that definition, we should be prioritizing work and life equally and spending time in each world the same amount. But Gautam challenged that idea with a few key points.

Firstly, most people spend the majority of their days working, meaning that over half of our time awake is focused on the “work” portion of the equilibrium we’re trying to build. By the time we get to the weekend – where we have two days to focus solely on the “life” portion – we’re already miles behind in finding our balance.

Secondly, every one of us is different, so the work-life balance approach might not work for us. And instead of coming to terms with that, a lot of us feel that we’re hard on ourselves for not being able to achieve it, according to Gautam.

So, what can we do to bring more attention to the “life” portion of our balance? Gautam calls her approach “work-life harmony.” The goal of work-life harmony is to get enough done in each aspect of our day to allow ourselves to be fully emotionally present in the other, says Gautam. For example, if one day you need to work until 6pm because you didn’t get a chance to dig yourself out of your inbox, do that. Because when you do, you’ll be able to fully unplug when you sign off and leave your office to spend time with your family. You won’t lose points towards your “life” balance, she says, because you’re doing what’s right for your productivity and your emotional being.

Gautam suggests pausing throughout the day for mindful meditation and taking stock of your to do list, so you can prioritize the things that will give you that emotional freedom. I can’t wait to try these tips and practice this new approach!


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