Most experts believe that the eternal swing of the pendulum of life has now swung too far in one direction, which results in increasing productivity, but this at the expense of distorting the delicate work/life balance. There are fortunately effective strategies of placing this balance back into synch.
It’s thought that the arc has now swung too far in the direction which affects one’s actual output. This as the typical full-time worker in North America now works around 47 weeks per year on average.
Compare this to the approximate 40 weeks of work for the other industrialized countries in the world. As a result, one key indicator is the workers are taking a hit, as it appears that there’s more employees who are taking more mental health days off, or just phoning in sick, this in the attempts to restore some of this balance back into their lives.
According to various work productivity groups, what’s found was that there’s more than one-third of workers who admitted that they played “hooky,” by phoning in sick at least a few times over the past 12 months. Most likely, the odds are good that you were one of them.
The Diminishing Productivity Factor
A survey based on a group of HR executives who are associated with S&P 500 companies, revealed that the actual gains in productivity based on the past several years has been placed directly on the backs of their employees, who also happens to be completely “maxed” out.
For instance, during the week for some high ranking executives, the routine day would be to work late into the evening 5 days a week, and then go home. If they’re lucky, they would have time to eat dinner with the family, possibly get in a work out, go to bed, then rinse and repeat. They have no idea where they’re going to get the next round of energy when it comes to increasing productivity.
According to a well known business analyst, there were just 18% percent of over 5000 senior executives and managers who thought that their lives were actually in perfect balance. When they were asked why, most pointed towards modern technology, which has made it significantly easier for them to manage their jobs.
The Ever Shrinking Workday
Another survey found that close to 35% percent of working adults said they routinely skip lunch, while 31% percent will work overtime without additional compensation. 29% percent were also required to work on most Sundays and some holidays.
So what does all this mean to you. The reality is that most professionals are now on call on a 24/7 basis, which includes weekends, and even when they’re on vacation.
So if moving abroad and working in a neutral tropical clime to lesson the workload isn’t an option for you, there are a few tips which are offered on how to achieve a better work-life balance.
Make sure that you establish and communicate boundaries for when, where, and how you’re expected to work, this during the interview process. Make sure that it’s in writing and more importantly, make sure that you adhere to it.
Make sure that it’s something that you feel comfortable with. For instance, some executives will work from 7:00 AM. to 6:PM. Monday to Friday. They’ll make themselves available via their cell phones during their commute to and from home. They have a policy of checking their emails just once during the evening.
Saturday is reserved strictly for their families and will refuse to do anything work related. They’ll then check their emails on Sunday evening, while preparing and planning for the upcoming work week. The key is deciding what works best for you, and then sticking to it concisely.
Taking Full Advantage Of Technology
It’s important to control technology rather than allowing it to control you. Smartphones, tablets, laptops, and means of remote access are excellent tools which can help you become more efficient, provided it doesn’t consume you.
The majority of executives will admit that there’s really no need to be completely linked to their office on a 24 hours a day basis, so stop trying to be a superhero by effectively managing your technology use.
Try turning off your smartphone once you get home. Stop texting messages, checking your email during lunch or meetings. It’s not a rude gesture, but it becomes distracting during these times as some will say it doesn’t belong in meetings in the first place.
Using Technology To Execute Business Goals
What you can use technology for is to help you in executing your business planning and goals. Block time out for projects and strategic activities for the day, deciding what’s urgent or not very important.
Block some time on your calendar for coffee breaks or a walk, have a healthy lunch and network efficiently if you need to “see and be seen.” Schedule specific times during the day when you’ll review or respond to emails, so that you’re not constantly interrupting the flow of your work every time you hear that “ding” of a new email.
Make use of the reminder features in your productivity software to schedule tasks to be completed on specific days. If you’re frequently interrupted during those times that you’ve scheduled to work on projects, then just forward your phone to voice-mail, or find an area where you can work without any interruptions.
What you need to do is just harness the promise and the power of what modern technology has to offer, rather than becoming slaves to the machine.