What work-life balance?
In the past, employees were able to focus on work while at work and personal lives while not at work. Today, smartphones and communication and social apps keep a constant stream of work and personal messages coming in 24 hours a day, and it’s taking a toll.
That’s not work-life balance. That’s, as the kids would say, all the things, all the time. It’s not good for our mental health or our attention span. I made a conscious decision to change jobs last year and go back to being an hourly employee in search of some semblance of work-life balance, and if I’m being honest, I’m not doing so well at adjusting back to that. It’s hard to differentiate between the two. Is it work if I read an article like this one at home? Or if I catch up on a podcast about eDiscovery on my off hours? I mean yeah, kind of. But it’s also during the day when my phone tells me I have a text from a friend, or need to confirm an appointment where the lines become blurred in the other direction, too.
On the other hand, some of the things suggested in this article help. Not getting office emails all hours of the night is a huge change from my previous job. Having it be expected that I’m not available if I’m away from the office, is also a nice change.
My continuing struggle with the change, I think, shows just how deeply embedded it is in many organizations. I’ve been here 10 months, and I’m just learning how to turn it off after years of travel and constant communication. Even then, I fear that I’m somehow letting someone down if I’m not connected. That’s a lot to live with, and it’s not good for me!