The work life balance trick

There’s more to life than work. The way we work, where and when we work is changing. Work is an activity, not a place. More and more of us work freelance or on contract or part-time. A lot of choose to work from home but that can make it even harder to find time to spend on family and other interests; to satisfy emotional and spiritual needs, because we lack the demarcation between work and home.

Technology is changing the way we work. It gives us the freedom to work effectively and securely, wherever we are. 45% of messages are opened first on a mobile device. So thanks to mobile technology, we can work more flexibly, for many, it means not having to travel into the office each day. This can have a positive impact on time management and, of course, it’s easier to balance working and home lives if we can work in a way that suits us.

Today more businesses expect to deliver on a 24/7 basis and the standard model of work – Monday to Friday, nine to five – is no longer standard. Many organisations are developing cultures that encourage people to work together across locations and borders, using social, mobile and cloud technologies. As a new technologies break down barriers within organisations and across borders, there will be a move towards a working culture more focused on encouraging ideas and innovation.

Keeping control

Work-life balance trickBut in the face of the 24/7 economy we still need to unwind and we all want to feel in control of our lives. A first step to achieving a better work-life balance is to think about the demands on your current professional and personal life. Next make a conscious effort to set some ground rules that allow you to establish a sensible life / work balance.

In a recent global survey by Accenture, 78% of workers said technology lets them be more flexible with their work schedules. But 70% said technology brings work into their personal lives.

Achieving balance doesn’t necessarily mean a reduction in productivity or changing your working hours. It may be about improved communication, clearer job roles and contracts and better training and development opportunities, as much as changes in actual working patterns.

Top tips to help in the new world of work

  • Take personal responsibility for your life / work balance and speak up when work demands are excessive, your employer needs to be aware of this to address the issue
  • Try to ‘work smart, not long’ with sensible prioritisation of your workload and other commitments
  • Make a distinction between work and leisure and if you do have to take work home try to confine it to your home office so you can shut the door on it when you need to
  • Keep track of your working hours and the hours you spend thinking or worrying about work when you consider life / work balance
  • Take proper breaks and get away from work when you can

So enjoy the positive aspects of new technology in the workplace and remember Doctor Who says: “The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. Hey.”

Michael is Chief Executive of 10Eighty. 10Eighty is a career and talent management consultancy that helps organizations maximize the contribution of their employees by ensuring satisfying jobs and careers for their employees. Michael is a Human Resources professional, having worked in the National Health Service, Insurance, Commodities and Derivatives industries. He has worked within the career coaching business for fifteen years, both managing a £7 million business and delivering bespoke, one to one career coaching. In the last 15 years Michael has run businesses that have helped 75,000 people make successful career transitions. He is a frequent commentator in the press/media, which includes a range of topics on “successfully managing your career” and talent management. Most recent media mentions have included BBC South, CNBC, Radio4, Financial Times, City AM, Financial News, Evening Standard, The Sunday Times, The Grapevine and HR Magazine, to name but a few. He writes a careers column for People Management, a blog for the Human Resources Magazine and is a regular contributor to The Thompson Reuters HR Portal. Michael is known as a thought provoking speaker in the HR industry. In the last 18 months, Michael spoke at the Careers Partner International Conference, NHS breakthrough conference, NHS North West Leadership Academy, London School of Economics, University of Westminster’s Talent Management Conference, ICAEW Finance Directors Conference, CIPD learning and development conference and CIPD branch seminars. He is also Chair of the CIPD’s Central London Branch. Additionally is a non executive director of Marshall ACM, an e-learning company and the Total Reward Group, a compensation and benefits consultancy. Michael plans to publish his book “The guide to everlasting employability” in the Autumn 2012. He has just launched an iphone app “careers snakes and ladders” and an online interactive version of the book in collaboration with Marshall ACM to coincide the launch of his new business 10Eighty. Michael has a degree in Economics, a MBA from Warwick Business School and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. He holds an accreditation from the British Psychological Society for the use of psychometrics. Michael has completed the Fairplace Internal Accreditation Programme, the training element of which is externally recognised by the Association for Coaching. Michael Moran was until January 2012 Chief Executive of Fairplace and a main board director of Savile plc, the career and talent management consultancy. Fairplace is part of the Savile Group, an AIM listed plc. The Savile Group was placed 16th in the Sunday Times top 100 small companies in 2010.

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Michael Moran – CEO 10Eighty

A blog about career and talent management, things that might help you with your career and in your job.