The kids need dropping off at school at the same time as your first meeting or an urgent project needs to be completed on the evening you planned to have dinner with family. It doesn’t turn off when you step into the office.
Sometimes it’s tricky to draw the line between one and the other; with work stresses putting added pressure on your downtime.
But Christmas can bring things into sharp focus. During the festive season the balance certainly tips towards life, with families spending more quality time together, parties, family get-togethers and shopping for that perfect gift.
But what might surprise you is that there’s no reason why this kind of work-life balance isn’t possible all year round.
So, why do we struggle to maintain the balance all year round?
There’s no doubt that the US has a problem when it comes to maintaining a healthy work-life balance; ranking 33 out of 36 countries according to the OECD Better Life Index.
The reason why the balance remains off for most people can be one of two things – either the ethos of the individual or the company.
According to the Center for American Progress, some top-level professionals view a 40-hour week as “part time”; any company with this philosophy is sure to encourage a workaholic attitude.
However, getting the right balance is essential for personal health, and the health of the company. Employees need to come into work refreshed – whether that’s following a work-free weekend or a relaxing evening away from their emails. Getting this right can boost efficiency and creativity; getting it wrong can have detrimental effects on the business.
Hay Group found that 27% of employees at organisations not perceived to support work-life balance planned to leave the company in the next two years – compared with only 17% from organisations with a better score.
With so much at stake, what’s the answer to a work-life balance that lasts all year round?
The solution: A mobile-first mind-set
The solution to this 21st century problem is a very 21st century invention – the smartphone. While effective time management and a lot of self-discipline can go a long way, the best way to escape the confines of your desk and enjoy a better working life is by embracing mobile technology.
Your working life should be flexible, allowing you to adapt to whatever your personal life throws your way. Mobile allows you to do just that – whether it’s the Christmas season, Easter break or just a hectic week in February.
Having a mobile CRM accessed via the cloud allows you to work from home and work on-the-go, plus you can switch it off when you want to switch it off.
Whether this means calling a new lead on your way to another appointment, or answering customer calls while visiting a relative, the mobile app really opens up your working week.
From desk to mobile
Even without the productivity benefits of allowing employees to better manage their time, mobile working should be on the cards anyway. A rigid, office-based, nine-to-five structure just doesn’t fly in the modern office environment.
The nature of the global economy means that there is no longer a standard working day. The concept of working 9 to 5 doesn’t make much sense.
With customers, clients and colleagues scattered across the globe – whose 9 to 5 would you use? It can be 9am in New York, 2pm in London and 1am in Sydney. It makes sense to have a more ‘individualised’ approach to working hours; be sensible and don’t stay up all night to make a call that can wait.
One of the only downsides to mobile technology is that everywhere can become your office; you can pick up emails at the shops, monitor your sales stats in the gym and even make a call just before reading your kids a bedtime story. Technology means you can stay connected wherever you are, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay connected to your cell every second of the day.
If used with the right attitude, mobile can greatly improve work-life balance and look to be the future of a more healthy, happy relationship with the office.
In 2015 don’t let family members become strangers, the sofa to gather dust and your vacation time go unused – make it your News Year’s resolution to get the work-life balance right.
Do you manage to achieve the elusive work-life balance? Let us know your tips in the comments.
A version of this post originally featured on the Salesforce Blog.
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About Tim Pickard
Tim joined NewVoiceMedia in July 2011 with over 20 years' experience as a leader in the IT industry. He served as VP and board member of RSA Security's international business for seven years where he ran marketing in EMEA, Asia Pacific and Japan. He spent two years as Chief Marketing Officer for SaaS/Cloud-based email management provider Mimecast.Read more from Tim Pickard