By Kevin Spencer: Enterprise Acquisition Manager, Telefónica UK
O2 recently shared the results of the nationwide O2 Mobile Life Report, showing how mobile phones are changing the way that we all live our lives. But how does this affect our work-life balance and the way in which we use technology at work?
20% of the nation said that smartphones have increased their working hours, compared to 70% who said it has stayed the same. This begs the question: is mobile technology making us more productive in our roles, or is it becoming intrusive into our personal lives? Perhaps the answer is a bit of both.
Technology gives you freedom
From my experience of working in the telecoms industry over the past 8 years, this is wholly dependent on your role and responsibilities. Technology gives you the choice to be mobile if you’d like to be, so long as your employer gives you the opportunity to do so. I achieve a healthy work-life balance by having two phones (which may sound extreme), so that my work phone can be left at home during weekends and on silent in the evenings. However, my work emails still hit my personal device if I choose to ‘pull’ them, which can sometimes lead to work conversations going on into the night and during the weekend. But at least that’s my choice, and something over and above what is expected of me, but ultimately providing a benefit to all.
If you can’t be seen, then you’re not working
Mobility solutions and technology can enable anyone to work from home or wherever you have connectivity. Many companies are seriously looking at this to improve relationships with their employees, which inevitably feeds through to their customers. Simple things such as being able to drop the kids off at school and work from home can go a long way in building employee happiness, productivity and retention. Ultimately, trust is an essential component in maintaining flexible working. But the millennials (those aged 18-34) coming into the workforce now expect this as a bare minimum – and to attract and keep hold of the talent that is out there, this flexibility needs to be provided.
I strongly believe that an employer needs to provide the choice to work flexibly if a job function allows you to do so. A mixture of working from home, on the road and in the office keeps the job feeling fresh and exciting, with different working environments providing eclectic inspirations for your work. But no matter how advanced technology gets, it’s always great to have some face time with colleagues and customers to build relationships and strengthen those all-important people skills.