Keeping work and home life separate can help to reduce stress, anxiety and other symptoms of mental illness. Staff can experience burnout if they don’t have a healthy work-life balance.
However, technology can make achieving balance difficult. Flexible working hours and working from home can be good for those with busy personal schedules, but it can also blur the lines between work and home time. In a study by Accenture, 70% of workers interviewed said that technology brings work into their personal lives.
Colleagues with work phones and laptops are technically contactable 24/7, which can have an impact on their personal lives. Some happily blur the lines between work and home life, and it works for them, whereas others struggle to separate the two.
Technology is a problem for good work-life balance, but it can also provide some solutions:
Remote access and communication
It goes without saying that technology has drastically improved productivity and streamlined processes across every industry. However, work technology still requires fast and dependable internet, so it’s important that companies invest in a reliable broadband connection.
Another benefit of using cloud storage is the enabling of flexible working for colleagues with busy home lives. With the right contracts and mobile deals, business communications can be optimised to ensure that everyone is kept in the loop, whilst being able to pick the kids up from school or let the plumber in.
Staff should always have access to what they need when they need it. Using cloud storage solutions like Google Drive is useful for easy document access and management, increasing collaboration and reducing the amount colleagues will need to ask for document access. Syncing up digital schedules and calendars will help everyone know when their colleagues are out of office.
Track your time
To achieve a good work-life balance, tracking current day to day activity is a good starting point. If either work or home time dominates the other, these areas of concern will be made clear through time tracking.
However, care should be taken when tracking time. An article by MonsterPost suggests that there are ramifications to tracking employee activity. Being on a timer full-time can add extra psychological stress to a work environment. It’s also not easy to force fun and breaks into an allocated time slot.
Timeneye is a free time tracking app designed to be stress-free and syncable with other software like Google Calendar and Trello.
Apps and tools
Apps can be an effective way to organise and focus work or personal life, whilst reminding you to make time for yourself. Of course, an app isn’t required for this. Something as simple as setting an alarm for break reminders can be effective – whether that’s for a quick walk or time to focus on deep breathing.
Apps can help those who struggle to focus and keep track of their goals. A study by Case Western Reserve University found that mindfulness in the workplace improves focus, stress management, and employee cooperation. If everyone in a business has a company mobile phone, ensuring each one has some of these useful apps downloaded can show that the business cares about the wellbeing of their staff:
- Cozi is a simple family organiser that helps to keep track of events, shopping lists, and meal plans. It’s an easy way for all family members to know everyone’s availability.
- Tools like Sort My Box are useful for organising files cluttering up a digital filing system in a fast and simple way. Clutter and disorganisation can add to the stress and make work just that little bit harder.
- If This Then That (IFTTT) is an interesting programme that enables devices and apps to work together, ultimately saving time. For instance, it can be programmed to automatically mute a mobile at bedtime, or log time spent in a specific location (such as work) straight into Google spreadsheets. This is an ideal solution for smart homes. IFTTT can also be used in business to create connected experiences for customers.
- The Space app considers phone usage and its impact, helping to encourage users to focus on what’s happening around them. The app can block access to certain messages and apps at certain times, increasing productivity and reducing distractions.
- Based on the Pomodoro technique, the Focus Booster app helps to end procrastination by promoting short bursts of work. Taking frequent breaks can maintain continuous focus and create clarity on time usage.
- The Headspace app provides themed sessions to help with everything from stress and anxiety to sleep patterns and guided meditations.
- Sanvello (Formerly Pacifica) allows tracking of moods and provides coping tools and guided journeys to deal with stressful situations or gain a shift in perspective.
- The Way of life app helps to identify bad habits such as short sleep and poor diet. The app then helps to replace the bad habits with good ones by setting regular goals to restore a healthy balance.
Turn off work tech
Although it’s not really a ‘tech tip’, it’s definitely the simplest way to avoid getting wound up by work stress at home. If you have a dual sim phone, the work sim can be switched off at weekends and evenings to make sure you can properly switch off too.
Although technology has brought new challenges and stresses to working life, it has also created new ways of taking back control. Constant access to communication doesn’t have to be an additional stress; when used correctly, it can be a benefit to both work and personal lives. Get in touch with A1 Comms today to discuss how they can improve your business communications.