Technology in the workplace has dramatically evolved in the past couple of years, and has had tremendous effects on our work-life balance.
On one hand, technology has hindered our efforts to achieve optimal work-life balance. The always-on digital world has led to workdays bleeding into our personal lives. Bosses expect you to be always available and responsive, and the pressure can be too much.
On the other hand, technology has offered many work-life enhancements. It has provided solutions that keep coworkers connected and made organizations agile. But now that most of us work from home, work-life balance is becoming harder to achieve.
So, how does technology improve work-life balance?
Important Work-Life Balance Statistics You Should Know About
Before we begin, we thought we should share some useful statistics about work-life balance:
- 66 percent of full-time employees state they don’t strongly believe they have good work-life balance – Smallbiz Trends.
- Only 23 percent of employers believe they are promoting work-life balance – Future Workplace.
- Companies that promote work-life balance are twice as productive as those that do not – Deloitte.
- 72 percent of employees consider work-life balance a crucial factor when choosing a job – Statista.
The Importance of Work-Life Balance
Employees who work over 50 hours per week are at a higher risk of depression, anxiety, and coronary heart disease. They don’t have time to spend with family and friends, are always fatigued, and record poor productivity.
A stable work-life balance, on the other hand, offers numerous benefits to employees:
- Improved motivation and morale
- Improved health and well-being
- Better time management
- Reduced absenteeism due to burnout
- More time to spend with family and friends
- Improved engagement
- Less stress
- Higher productivity
- Personal development
5 Effective Ways to Use Technology to Improve Work-Life Balance
While technology works both ways, there are ways to make it work in your favor and gain optimal work-life balance. Here are the top 5:
Adopt Flexible Work Schedules
The biggest advantage of technology is the flexibility it provides to work from anywhere. You no longer need to be stuck in your office all day working on projects. Working remotely empowers you with the flexibility to remain productive while also enjoying your personal life.
Several studies show that remote workers are happier and more motivated than their office counterparts. Remote work allows you to set your ideal schedule, meaning you can work at times that suit you best.
Technology gives you access to tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, and more, that facilitate communication. These tools enable you to connect with coworkers and be part of the office culture. They also allow you to hold meetings from any location and feel part of the team.
Adopt Asynchronous Collaboration
With the “always available” attitude that bosses have toward employees, it’s easy to find your work bleeding into your life. The never-ending flood of communication can lead to stress and fatigue, which will ultimately affect your quality of work.
To avoid this, encourage asynchronous communication and collaboration. This will reduce the need for instant feedback and constant screen checking. In addition, opt to adopt a dedicated app for work communication.
It then becomes easier to switch it off whenever you need some downtime. Likewise, you’ll have all the features necessary to communicate with clients or your team.
If you use email as your main communication method, you can configure your inbox to filter certain messages at particular times. Or, you could limit notifications past certain times of the day.
Invest in Your Mental and Emotional Health
The best thing about technology is that you can take charge and be in control. Understandably, some aspects of technology have negative effects on our health. Addictive apps and social media can hurt our health and impact our social skills.
Besides addiction, work is one of the biggest stressors for employees. Luckily, you can invest in mental and emotional health resources. Nowadays, you can find dozens of apps that offer wellness programs that can help you manage stress and anxiety.
Meditation apps can positively impact your mental and physical health. Plus, these apps are available on your smartphone, meaning you can use them anywhere, anytime. When you’re feeling stressed out, you can use the heart rate monitor app found on smartwatches and smartphones to focus on calming down and finding peace.
Technology has two sides. You have the power to choose only the apps that bring positivity and are helpful to your personal and professional life.
Regardless of their time zones, team members can now communicate and collaborate in real-time, thanks to tools like Slack and Google. With video conferencing, instant messaging, document collaboration, and more, you can share work projects, coordinate schedules, and work on presentations more effectively.
With better collaboration, overall productivity improves, allowing you to get more done during normal working hours. As a result, you get more time to spend with family or pursue personal activities.
Moreover, you can improve your time management skills by investing in a time tracker. These tools monitor how you spend your work time by tracking every minute spent working. Some also monitor your web usage and productivity throughout the day, so you can identify time wasters or where your time goes.
More importantly, a time tracking tool can help ensure you take breaks from your computer and other devices throughout your work day. They come with reminders that show you how long you’ve been working so you can remember to take breaks. Studies show that taking short breaks and focusing on something entirely different can re-energize your brain and improve focus.
Access Continuous Learning Opportunities
When it comes to improving work-life balance, technology provides access to continuing education. These learning opportunities allow you to develop your personal and professional life, and the skills you learn can prove useful in the future.
With hundreds of online course platforms accessible via your smartphone or laptop, you can learn any skill quickly and get the certification. Acquiring new abilities is a great way to improve your work-life balance, and technology makes this happen.
Improving work-life balance isn’t just about working fewer hours. It means making meaningful changes to your well-being and getting time to pursue personal passions. Technology can help you work more flexibly, access educational resources, and stay connected.