Most people strive for a work/life balance; sharing their time fairly between their work tasks and their friends, family and hobbies they like to do outside of work. Striking the right balance is not as simple as it sounds though and is often somewhat of a ‘holy grail’ for workers. The right attitude towards work obviously plays a huge role in achieving a work/life balance, but the increased use of technology is also a major contributing factor.
Why is a work/life balance important?
Work/life balance has become something of a buzzword, but there are genuine reasons why both employers and employees should be focusing on achieving a healthy balance. The days of people demonstrating that they are the right person for a job by working as many hours as they possibly can is disappearing. Employers now prefer to know that employees have a life outside of work that is fulfilling and supportive. A work/life balance is a healthy lifestyle. Workers who have little to no interests except their work are expected to burn out or become unfocused. They are more of a risk than the workers who happily leave when their working day ends and do not return until the next day.
How technology allows people to achieve a work/life balance
Having the right attitude towards work is probably the most important thing when it comes to achieving a work/life balance. If a person wants to work during all of their spare time, then there is little that can change their attitude and they are unlikely to achieve a healthy work/life balance. However, for all of the people who wish to leave work at work and enjoy some free time with family or friends technology has arguably made achieving this work/life balance much easier.
Online work tools such as Asana, Basecamp, Jira and Slack make collaborative working easier. Having a virtual workspace that everyone can log into and contribute to ongoing projects or complete their own tasks and upload them for the team, people can work effectively together without ever having to be in the same physical office space. This is great for people who want to work with a variety of people but also perfect for maintaining a healthy work/life balance. It gives people the option to work from home that saves time by not commuting before and after work, and also allows for lunch breaks to be spent doing things that the person wants to be doing such as spending time with family, or hobbies that they can do from home for an hour or so while they are having a break.
In a similar way to online collaboration tools, conferencing calling software such as Skype allows people to conduct face-to-face meetings without having to be together. For organisations spread across the country or even the world, this can have a great impact on work/life balance. All the trips that people would previously have had to take, staying hotels and being away from their non-work life are, in general, no longer necessary. Of course, there are many people and organisations that still prefer to conduct meetings by attending face-to-face but technology has now given an alternative that allows for a better work/life balance.
Work on the go
The majority of online collaboration tools have Apps to allow workers to access work on the go via tablets or smartphones. Along with these types of tools there are also word processors, spreadsheets, etc. that can be accessed online and saved to cloud storage allowing workers to work anywhere they choose. They also have the ability to pick up where they left off when they are home or back in the office.
Technology = more efficient
It is rare that any organisation will introduce technology into the workplace unless it will, in part at least, be more efficient for the staff and customers or clients. It is therefore possible to conclude that technology in the workplace will make workers’ jobs easier, quicker. The amount of time workers are required to work late in order to get tasks finished should be reduced, if not eliminated.
Take your work home
For the occasions where it is still necessary to work late in order to finish tasks technology often offers the choice to take work home rather than be stuck in the office until it’s finished. Online collaboration tools as well as cloud storage and networking make it possible for workers to access their work network from home and continue to work as if they were still in the office. This not only allows workers to work from the comfort of their home but also gives them the chance have a break from the task that needs completing and finish it later as they are not limited by being forced to stay in the office and finish.
Technology is making it easier for workers to achieve a healthy work/life balance.
* Tools to make working on mobile devices simple.
* Cloud storage to make working in different places easily.
* Software to allow communication with people around the world.
* Technology allows workers to make their work-life fit around their home life.
It is not always appropriate to put home life first but at least with technological developments it is possible to ensure home life no longer gets neglected. This is great for the employee but also for the employer who knows that their workers can achieve a work/life balance and stay focused on their work without burning out.