With the rise of 24/7 connectivity and an increasingly global workplace, is it possible to achieve a work life balance in a constantly connected world?
No matter where we are, at home, on the tube or on holiday, we’re always connected to our workplaces. Is it just me that checks my work emails on holiday? Or scrolls through LinkedIn in the evening? Thought not. In fact, when I’m on holiday next week my wife has said I can have 30 minutes once a day to look at and respond to work emails – otherwise I’ll be “unbearable”, her actual words.
And it’s not just those in the workplace that are addicted to technology. Some stay at home parents are finding themselves looking for community or information. Children themselves are being limited when it comes to screen time and are facing rules such as no phones at dinnertime, or no social media after a certain point in the evening.
It’s always 9am somewhere, right?
When it comes to work, the problem is that in an increasingly global workforce, someone is always online and ready to work – and they expect you to be as well – even if it’s closer to your bed time than your office hours. We’re all familiar with the colleagues who work on the US west coast, the ones that arrive at the office just as we’re leaving. Anyone have any work colleagues in the Middle East? While they don’t work on a Friday, they definitely do work on a Sunday. So now you do, too.
Ultimately, we probably won’t face ramifications if we’re not online at midnight, but that doesn’t stop us from checking in. Whether you’re making a start on your Monday inbox on a Sunday evening or booking travel over the weekend when you can spare the time, it all creeps in to your supposed down time.
The wheel keeps on turning
We all feel like we’re indispensable, but what we have to remember is that the world keeps spinning, so whether you’re there or not does not fundamentally affect what you do. I guess at the end of the day though, this depends on your role and the company you work for. I work for a fairly large corporate client company, so I should be able to switch off – someone will pick up my work for me if I’m on holiday or out of office. But if you’re a small business start-up and you’ve got just one or two people working for you, you wouldn’t want to miss anything that affected your business.
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