According to a survey by the specialty insurer Hiscox, most of us have an especially hard time cutting the digital work tether on weekends. Only five percent of those surveyed reported not working on weekends and only three percent keep their mobile devices away from both the bedroom and dinner table. So how can we utilize information mobility to improve work-life balance?
Use Tech for Good, Not Evil
The easiest option is to find ways to increase your productivity during the workweek. Try digitizing your records for quick access, rather than storing files on hard copy. Make it easy to access your company intranet remotely, so workers can get their work done before the weekend. Even cross-country (or even cross-continent) business trips can often be accomplished via video conferencing. It’s an easy way to save yourself at least two plane rides, a boatload of cash and the stress of having to frantically pack and prepare, so you can actually enjoy your weekend.
Being a part of the age of information mobility means being able to collaborate with people all around the world and having always-on access to your critical data. That means having the right tech at the right time.
Have Some Backbone
With recent advancements in technology, everyone needs to be able to communicate with anyone anywhere, at any time. Absolutely essential to a company’s ability to harness the power of information mobility is a functional and agile tech infrastructure. IT is the backbone that keeps today’s business upright. Workers can’t be expected to work effectively from afar if their files are hard to access even from inside the building. IT departments must make it a priority to help employees understand their employer’s digital interface, so they’re not wasting valuable time trying to figure out how to make something work. And don’t forget the damage that even a small amount of downtime can have for your business.
Understand the Need for Downtime
Employers must also resist the urge to make their charges feel like they’re chained to a desk after hours and on weekends. Most people need time to relax, hang out with their families, and lay on the couch binging on Netflix. If you manage workers, keep an eye on their workloads to be sure they’re not having to catch up every weekend. You might enjoy the slightly-higher productivity, but in the long term, it will inevitably lead to burnout, an unhappy employee and high turnover.
And this goes for you, too. If you feel like you can’t unplug from the Matrix, even for a night, it’s time to draw a line in the sand. Eileen McDargh, an author who has been writing about work-life balance since 1985, suggests creating a friendly yet firm automated email reply, something along the lines of, “In order to avoid becoming a burned-out shell of my former self, my family has insisted that I make myself unavailable until 8 a.m. Monday morning. I will be happy to give you my undivided attention then. I hope you enjoy your weekend, too!”
Including your emergency cell phone contact is up to you.