Embrace Technology To Secure a Healthy Work-Life Balance
In earlier generations, you would be able to leave the office at 5pm and not have to think about work again until the next morning. Furthermore, there were no expectations for you to answer phone calls or respond to requests if you were sick or on holiday. Nowadays, thanks to email and mobile phones, the length of the average workday has increased, along with your accessibility by workers and clients. This blurs the line between work life and home life and may contribute to your stress level.
Mark Cropley, a Professor at the University of Surrey and author of a new book “The Off-Switch: Leave Work on Time, Relax Your Mind But Still Get More Done,” says that you can improve your health and productivity at work by not reading your emails after office hours.
“Work has a nasty habit of creeping up on some people. Before realising it they find themselves working in the evenings, either finishing projects or checking emails to make life easier for the next day,” Cropley said. “But this means they can’t switch off. They’ll be in bed and their mind will still be on work. They’ll go round and round in circles thinking ‘I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do that.’ Then they go back to work the next day feeling more fatigued and more likely to make mistakes.”
His philosophy believes that creativity peaks when we give ourselves time to unwind outside our workspaces and partake in activities that we enjoy. Being removed from the office provides us with the necessary space to think and produce ideas that we may have not been able to come up with under stressful or limited circumstances. The separation time gives you a break and allows you to re-charge, so you can be more productive and refreshed for the following days. He uses a great example of long distance running to illustrate this concept. “People can run it quite quickly, but if you keep doing this you become slower and slower. By unwinding and getting away from the work situation, you become more engaged and energised.”
Adopting Professor Cropley’s philosophy is a greater challenge for our generation since advanced technology has made it easier to stay connected. We are constantly attached to our smartphones and it’s become increasingly harder to detach at home or while on holiday. Especially in today’s economy where jobs are not as secure as they once were and people want to be perceived as working hard and putting in the extra time.
Being connected 24/7 is a great thing, but needs to be managed. Many of us don’t have the luxury to fully disconnect from work, but we can absolutely adopt Professor Cropley’s approach by using tech to help us become more disconnected and maintain the balance of allowing our brains to switch off and rest.
Tech plays a major role in the reason why we’re so connected to begin with, but we can embrace the technology available to us to reduce our time that we are ‘connected’, while still feeling comfortable that we are up to date with what’s going on at work.
Many offices have adopted online messaging platforms that sync with smartphones to improve communication. Online messaging platforms connect office teams in real time via chats with customisable settings that alert you according to your preferences. This is a huge time saver and gives you the comfort of knowing that if something is important, you will be notified, versus constantly refreshing your email inbox to feel up to date.
Customisable features like being pinged on your smartphone offers peace of mind and can prevent you from checking your phone and going through long email chains, so you have more quality time to unwind without neglecting important work tasks that may arise unexpectedly. Riot for example, highlights your name if you’re mentioned in a conversation and will send you a notification that will display on your device’s screen to alert you even if the room is muted.
While disconnecting from work completely may be impossible, online messaging platforms, like Riot offer an alternative for weeding out the noise and focusing on what’s important, without having to be glued to work related tasks outside of the office and feeling constantly connected. Give Riot a try within your organisation and see how it works alongside Professor Cropley’s philosophy.
Have a great week.
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