How Technology Has Altered Your Work-Life Balance

If you work 48 weeks in the year and spend a conservative 5 hours per week commuting to and from work, you are spending 240 hours per year driving. This takes time away from family, hobbies, friends, and much more. How can technology be used to recover that time?

Until the last few years, the only option for working was to physically go to an office to spend 40-50 hour weeks behind a stuffy desk surrounded by people you may or may not enjoy working with. As technology has evolved, so has the flexibility to work in the office, at home, on the beach, or elsewhere.

While technology makes it easier for employers to allow telecommuting, there is still a trust factor that comes into play. There are ways that each employer can measure productivity differently, but some employers are simply more comfortable knowing for sure that their employee is at their desk during a specific time each day. Another consideration for employers is the morale of employees who are No work from home while someone else is allowed that luxury. Should they have 1 happy employee and 10 unhappy employees or 10 happy employees and 1 unhappy employee? Instead of looking at the struggles of employers facing this decision, let’s look at the technologies that make working from home a reality much more often than it was 20 or 30 years ago.

If an employer decides to allow telecommuting, there are several tools on the market that safeguard your investment.

· Worksnaps: This tool allows an employer to monitor how productive the employee working from home has been throughout the day. There are less detailed tools available, but this one doesn’t leave much room for the employee to work. Beyond monitoring time spent in productive programs (Facebook isn’t one of them), the tool takes screenshots of the worker’s computer screen throughout the day to make sure the employee is productive while displaying the activity on your computer. They will even count the number of mouse and keyboard clicks.

Internet: This is pretty obvious but probably the most important tool. The Internet allows you to communicate with your team members, your company, and any external customers. Many companies have web-based products that they use to host databases or other tools that are essential to their employees’ job tasks.

Google Docs: This is free for anyone with a Gmail account. It provides Microsoft-based tools to people no matter where they are in the world. Google documents can be accessed for document sharing, either for informational purposes or for each member of a team to edit the document. If you don’t have Microsoft programs on your home computer, this is a great way to use them. They don’t have the latest benefits of current programs, but they’ll work in a pinch.

Trello – This is a popular tool that enables project management across your team no matter where everyone is located. This can be used for people to organize to-do lists or monitor projects, so everyone knows where the team stands. The program allows you to divide the project into segments that can be taken a closer look at as the project progresses.

Zoho – This is another project management tool, but it seems to have a lot of features, including the overlapping features I’ve already mentioned. There’s the ability to track time spent on projects, bid charts and written documentation of the progress of specific projects the team is working on, a calendar the whole team can contribute to and view, document sharing capabilities, notes area to record obstacles or errors that need to be resolved. This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the capabilities of this tool. The cost is relatively inexpensive, ranging from $0 for limited access to $100/month/employee for full access.

Yammer: This is described as a Facebook for work. This platform allows an employer to send only relevant information to employees. Employees can then communicate within their specific teams to achieve goals.

Skype: This is a free service that allows face-to-face communication between employees. The tool is internet based and allows you to bring multiple people into the conversation/collaboration.

GoTo Meeting – This is a great tool for webinars as it will allow you to broadcast to hundreds of people joining. Also, for those who cannot attend the meeting or want to watch the meeting a second time, the meetings can be recorded. You can share your screen with those who registered for the meeting, allowing for collaboration on projects or even training.

· Viewflux: There are several sites aimed at designers, viewflux being one of them. These sites allow you to share your designs with a group of people. Those people can specify the changes they want made by bookmarking the page. Have you ever wanted someone to change something about a graph and try to describe in several words what only a few words and an arrow could describe? These sites make a world of difference to designers and their clients and team members.

· Dropbox: If you have files larger than can fit in your Google Drive, Dropbox is an option for sharing files with your team. According to Dropbox, this is a safe way to share files.

Nimble – This is a great tool for marketers and people with large networks to stay organized. This tool combines your social media and email contacts into one customer relationship management (CRM) solution. The tool even links the conversations you’ve had with these contacts, so you can remember the contact in that specific context.

These are just some of the tools that people can use when working from home or even in the office. The potential for collaboration with tools can simplify processes that are long overdue for change. In addition, the telecommuter can easily connect and contribute to projects being worked on in the office. Without these connections, the telecommuter could quickly be dismissed as part of the dynamics of the department they once worked with in person.

While some may argue that society is more disconnected than ever, please consider that technology is not an obstacle to our communication efforts, but an asset. I would maintain that society is communicating more efficiently, more frequently, and more effectively than ever before thanks to technology.

Imagine being able to work from 7:00 to 4:00 and being able to start dinner at 4:05 instead of 5:05. You now have time to patiently help the kids with their homework, easily pick up the kids from soccer practice, spend time focusing on your spouse. The pressure to get things done can decrease as the level of technology increases if we take advantage of both. What would the possibility of teleworking mean for your life? Do you currently? What have you found to be beneficial in this regard?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *