Sunday, January 29, 2006

Work-Life Balance

After discussing this very subject over breakfast with Gill, I discover a news item on the BBCi website entitled Many Parents "taking work home" . It seems that children have noticed that their mums and dads are spending more time working at home than talking to, or playing with, their children. There is an expectation among children that they, too, will have to work long hours when they leave school, probably longer than their parents do now. Scary!

It all goes to prove what I've said for a long time, which is that while new technology makes a lot of jobs easier to do, it also put a lot of pressure on the users to get jobs done immediately. There isn't the luxury any more of saying "I'll do that after the weekend, when I can get in touch with them", or "That's a job for tomorrow, when I get back to my desk/typewriter/computer". We're all on call now, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and even on holiday and at Christmas. And, if someone calls you on your mobile phone, or emails you to get a job done, they expect an instant response.

Good bosses don't call their staff at the weekend, or in the evening, even if they want to. Taking the time to think before sending the email, text message or phone call can help to reduce the stress of the person at the other end. Let them live their lives without you interrupting with something that can wait till tomorrow, or Monday, or whenever. Goodness knows, computers, mobile phones, faxes, blackberries and such like are fantastic to have, but people are still more important!!

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