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BYOD and productivity: addressing work-life balance

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Do you take enough time away from the office and your phone?

The argument about BYOD has moved on from its starting point, where enterprises were at first tempted to lock everything down and refuse to allow devices other than those it had approved and purchased itself to access the network and corporate data.

Instead, some 95% of organisations now encourage mobility and support BYOD, according to research by Evolve IP. With managers and executives now working remotely for over 10 hours a week, and an extra half-hour added to their working day by the ability to connect during the commute, BYOD-enabling organisations are reaping the benefits of their mobility programmes, including increased productivity. And most employees told researchers that they valued the ability to stay in touch anytime, anywhere.

Work/life balance

But is it a good thing that the line between work and home lives should be so blurred? Researchers have found that people end up working for up to 13 hours a day – not because they necessarily want to but because they feel compelled to do so. Some might argue that a visit to HR is required in such circumstances but the pressure of colleagues as much as managers can mean that there is little that they can do. Instead, it may require a change in corporate culture, where holidays are allowed.

That said, in a tough economic environment, many people feel that they need to work harder to keep their jobs, to stay in touch – even overnight or on holiday. Yet everyone knows that downtime is essential to recharge the batteries, to pursue hobbies, and spend quality time with friends and family.

body text image 350x250 (7)Finding a middle way

There may be a middle way between switching off entirely and being a slave to the technology. According to the Harvard Business Review (https://hbr.org/2014/07/the-right-way-to-unplug-when-youre-on-vacation/), it may be question of figuring out the minimum amount of time you can get away with being disconnected from the grid.

In practical terms, it may be as simple as being particular about the times you connect – say once or twice a day at specific times, with email downloads being triggered manually so you won’t be tempted to respond to notifications. Then once you have a clear plan, you need to share with family and colleagues so they know when you will be available for work – and when you won’t.

You could also set up a holiday auto-reply that will minimise the email pile when you get back. And try not to think about work while you’re away.

Technology is not the boss

What’s key to recognise is that you should not feel compelled to stay in touch. Just because the technology exists to keep you in touch pretty much anywhere, it doesn’t follow that you should be expected to do so. And if that doesn’t work, take at least part of your holiday somewhere the mobile networks won’t reach you, so you have an entirely legitimate reason not to respond to emails or calls.

Productivity need not suffer: research shows that people feel less stressed and have higher energy levels after they return from holiday – which is better for both their health and their productivity.

 

Manek Dubash

Manek Dubash

Manek Dubash is an analyst and tech journalist with over 30 years experience. Focused on business technology, he observes and comments on enterprise infrastructure issues for a range of industry-influential websites. His work has appeared in national newspapers as well as specialist technology journals and websites. He has also held senior posts on major newsstand magazines, including PC Magazine where he was editor-in-chief, and has worked with analysis and research companies such as Datamonitor and STL Partners.

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Tags: Mobility, Technology