Are You a Segmenter Or An Integrator?

Knowing it enhances your lifestyle


Houssem Sadki

3 years ago | 3 min read

Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash

Should the spheres of work and personal life be kept separate, or do you prefer to mix your tasks into the rest of your day? The answer to this question indicates whether you are more of a “segmenter” or an “integrator.” Researchers categorize these two personalities at work according to individual preferences regarding the boundaries between home and work.

Although these different personalities were identified long before the advent of freelancing due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is vital to know which camp you are on: working during this period of permanent upheaval is already quite exhausting, but going to the Contrary of your personality can make your feelings of exhaustion or overwork worse.

How to know if you are a segmenter or an integrator

Segmenters “separate professional and private life as much as possible, while integrators do not hesitate to switch from one to the other: they work a little, then spend time with their family or doing something at home. home and then go back to work, ”says Laurens Steed, assistant professor of management at the Farmer School of Business at the University of Miami.

She points out that both are on the same solid line: you can be an extreme segmenter, an extreme integrator, or somewhere in between.

Home and Work: Negotiating Boundaries Through Everyday Life (published in 1996), sociologist Christena Nippert-Eng noted that segmenters draw the line between work and home using objects, for example with calendars, uniforms, or separate sets of keys for each location or activity.

In the book, Joan, an office worker who prefers segmentation, has a small calendar with her business deadlines and appointments, and a large wall calendar that shows her vacation days and scheduled family visits. She watches him when she needs to getaway.

According to Laurens Steed, segmenters are more able to “make the cut” with work, while it may be more difficult for integrators to resist the urge to go back to the computer to, for example, respond to a late-night email.

Integrator profiles are more frequent. Google, which used the research of Christena Nippert-Eng in a study of its own workforce, found that more than two-thirds described themselves as integrators and somewhat agreed with the following statement:

“it’s hard to say where my professional life ends and my private life begins. ”


If you’re still not sure if you’re an integrator or a segmenter, follow up for a week or two on how you work, take a notebook or a diary and write down the times you work, how you work and see if you’re a person who likes to naturally silo or if you work better when you mix genres.

Unfortunately, the way you work isn’t always up to you. Now that your home can be your office thanks to the coronavirus, it can be easy to blur the lines between your work and the rest of your life. Laurens Steed also notes that your organization’s work schedule culture may require integration or segmentation, even when you prefer the other mode of operation.

If you are in charge of a team, you should know that some people prefer to set strict limits on their working life, even if you don’t. For communications outside of working hours, consider whether your employees should react immediately, says Laurens Steed.

The importance of recharging your batteries

Whatever your preferences, everyone needs a break to recharge.

Laurens Steed, the co-author of a 2019 review of 198 studies, found that taking time to recover improved sleep, well-being, and work performance.

For her, real recovery time should include a moment of detachment from work, relaxation, a feeling of control (like when you learn to ride a bike), or control over the course of things. Keep in mind that what can be a restful activity and recharge your batteries one time can become a stressful time at another.

Sometimes spending time with your kids can make you feel like you’re recovering, but on days when they don’t want to eat or go to bed, it can make you feel exhausted.

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

The length of a break may also vary. Segmenters may prefer to say to themselves, “I finish at 5:30 or 6 pm, and then I spend the rest of my evening at home.” Conversely, integrators will be more comfortable taking short breaks throughout the day, saying to themselves, “I’m going to take 30 minutes to go for a walk”.

If you find it difficult to end a day’s work, try planning something you can’t undo, like an already paid night school, until it becomes a routine, adds Cynthia Pong. This will force you to make the most of your workday and find time to recover.

First published here


Created by

Houssem Sadki

Navy Hydrographic Engineer and GIS Specialist and looking to become adata scientist







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