An ‘always on’ technology culture can cause your work life to start interfering with your personal life. Do you find that your stress levels soar when there’s no wi-fi or panic when you can’t get signal? Maybe it’s time to think about how technology is affecting your work-life balance.
Employers and technology
Trying to stay ahead of the curve and meet deadlines helps us to progress at work. However, this can often lead to long hours, missed meals and checking work email late at night - which can have a negative effect on productivity. It’s safe to say that technology isn’t helping us maintain a healthy work-life balance. Many of us either have at least one phone synced to our work emails. This means we’re on call 24/7 responding to calls and queries as soon as they come in, leaving us thinking about work, on edge expecting a call or email, when we should be winding down.
Lack of sleep and late nights have left workers experiencing mental health problems and taking sick leave from work. A recent survey from Mind and YouGov showed that:
- 53 per cent of people feel that working long hours is affecting their sleep
- 22 per cent had a loss of appetite
- 27 per cent had experienced physical problems
Sometimes working long hours is unavoidable. But make an effort now and again to leave your laptop at work, or unsync your work emails for the weekend to help you switch off and recharge.
Parents and technology
For working parents, there’s more than just your own wellbeing that needs to be taken into account. Taking work calls, skype meetings and doing work over the weekend can have an effect on quality time with your family. Juggling work, school runs, helping with homework and attending parents evenings is a balancing act. Managing how you use technology outside of work will mean you can enjoy your weekends but your children can have your full attention.
If you’re struggling ask your employer about building in some flexible working hours - so you can work around your family’s needs. The most recent government Work-life balance employer survey revealed that ‘over half (56 per cent) of employers said that the impact was very or fairly positive’ having introduced flexible working arrangements.
There’s no doubt that emailing is quick and easy - which means that often we’re less inclined to pick up the phone to a client or approach a colleague in person. This can sometimes come across as impersonal. Lack of communication can also get in the way of building valuable relationships in the office. Getting up and going to talk to people gives you a much needed break from your screen.
It’s difficult to escape technology altogether when we leave the office, but it’s important to ensure that it’s not hindering our efforts to lead a balanced life. So use your phone or tablet to organise your week so that you can stay on top of everything. Keeping your evenings and weekends free for the most part will set you in good stead for achieving a healthy work-life balance. Don’t let technology blur the lines between your work and personal life, take regular breaks and learn when it’s time to switch off.