Advances in technology are often celebrated and many of us are keen to get their hands on the latest gadget, but is the same technology actually having a negative impact on your work-life balance?
A recent survey showed that 92% of senior executives own a smartphone and with mobile technology rapidly overtaking desktop computers you really can take your work everywhere with you.
A “virtual office” can now be contained in one tiny device, your mobile phone, and that can come with you to your house, your holiday, your bedroom even your bathroom!
In part one we looked at how technology can have a positive impact on your work life balance, and in this part we’ll look at the draw backs of our obsession with tech.
Increased Flexibility Means Constant Availability
Technology gives you the ability to work anywhere, anytime, making your work hours as flexible as you like… the trouble is this also makes your hours as flexible as other people would like as well! Technology allows you to be instantly, and constantly, available and you may find people in your life that take full advantage of that.
If you’re doing a task at work that requires complete concentration, try putting your phone on ‘do not disturb’ and not touching it until you’re done. Also make sure you switch your work mobile off when you leave the office on Friday so you can give your family your full attention.
Switching off your work mobile at weekends might be well and good, but what if you only have one phone for business and personal purposes?
Many people are in this situation and it can lead to blurred boundaries and you might find yourself checking emails at the dinner table or tweeting about your night out at work.
The lack of definition can lead to frustration and is counter intuitive to having a healthy work/life balance. The solution lies in deciding what is important to you at a particular time of the day and being disciplined enough to behave accordingly.
Your company won’t crumble if you leave your emails until after dinner and saving Twitter for your lunch break will help you take your mind off work at an appropriate time rather than when you should be getting on with other things.
Training Takes Time
If you’re considering introducing new technology into your workplace then the time it takes to train each member of your team to use it should be an important consideration.
No matter how efficient your team is you can’t escape the fact that learning how to use new software, apps, or systems can take the focus away from their main job role.
Adoption rates for new tech among existing staff can often limit it’s ability to have a positive impact as well. In many cases, new technology requires a significant majority of the business to be converted to it in order to avoid the dangers of being split between two similar platforms.
The increasing use of technology in our daily lives is often seen as a double edged sword and there are certainly valid reasons why it could be more of a hindrance than a help to the perfect work/life balance.
The answer lies in being responsible and disciplined enough to have well defined boundaries as there’s no doubt that technology and in particular mobile, can enhance many aspects of your life.
We may have a love/hate relationship with technology but given the choice, most of us would rather suffer the complications of managing their work life balance than having technology torn away from them.
Finding what works for you is the key to living a harmonious and balanced life. For more tips on a healthy work-life, take a look at our 8 tips for improving your work-life balance.