Balancing Work And Life: Modern Challenges
Thanks to the wonders of technology, we’ve finally arrived in an age of total connection. Employees in a vast number of different industries now have the tools to remain in constant contact with their jobs. For employers, this is a terrific situation. It means faster response times, more productivity, and higher expectations. It’s not always a great set-up when you’re the employee, though! Now it can feel like work is truly inescapable, no matter what time it is and no matter where you go. No matter how busy you are, you can get a better handle on the balance between work and life by following these tips.
Open Up Clear Lines Of Communication
If you’re feeling oppressed by constant demands from your job, the last thing you want to think about might be talking to your employers even more! It’s not something you want to avoid; you need to work together with your superiors to establish a manageable workload. Talk frankly about the demands being placed on your time both in and out of the office. Take a moment to survey the time you do spend at your job; could it be made more productive to reduce outside demands on your attention?
The smartest place to start these discussions is by reviewing all of the standing policies your organization has regarding after-hours communications and work. Make sure you’re thorough in your hunt for documentation; contact your HR department to make sure you get a look at everything that’s been committed to paper on the subject. Preparing yourself professionally is the best way to start a constructive, non-confrontational dialog with your employers.
If you’re feeling put upon by demands that you respond instantly to workplace communications when you’re out of the office, speak to your immediate supervisor about your concerns. Ask him or her to consider just how vital response time really is, especially when you have pressing matters of your own to attend to. This may be the prelude to a formal discussion of the subject with the HR department, so make sure you do the homework described above.
Setting Your Limits
After you’ve made your supervisor aware of the fact that you’re having issues with the balance between your job and your life, it’s time to seek a healthier state of affairs and set up some reasonable boundaries. Automate your means of contact (e.g. voicemail, email, etc.) so that you can disable immediate notifications when you don’t want to be disturbed. Use professional away messages to let people know when they can expect to hear back from you. Your goal should be to establish firm boundaries without giving the impression that you’re ducking out on your professional obligations.
It’s important to find a sustainable balance sooner rather than later in order to minimize the risk of burnout. Even the most enthusiastic workaholic can become disillusioned with their career, and you make that possibility more likely if you make it impossible to escape your work. Shutting down your office lines of communication isn’t just for family events and emergencies; take some time off for yourself, too!
All of the wonderful new communications channels we have available to us are tremendous boons for productivity. It’s important to maintain a separation between your career and your life, and striking the right balance is often a collaborative effort between you and your employers. Staying sane and healthy by being able to step away from your job from time to time will make you a better employee in the long run.