Well, as a part of my New Year resolution, I enrolled in the “BlogHer Writing Lab” contest for January. This is how it works – They publish a new prompt everyday and you need to blog about it.
Today’s prompt is “Has Technology helped you achieve a better or worse work/life balance”.
I will safely say Yes and No, because technology has been both advantageous and disadvantageous for me in juggling with my work and personal life
Merits of Technology:
Everybody is zipping in the “high speed lane” in today’s world. Everyone needs the fastest bus, car, train, plane, high speed internet, operating system, iOS, laptops, computers, VOIP, tele conference and video conference devices to keep themselves abreast with daily activities and also be in touch with their loved ones. There are major breakthroughs in technology which provides us manifold opportunities to stay connected in this busy world today and also manage our work/life balance.
“Work from Home” – Being a new first time working mom, my toddler needs my constant attention and love, but thanks to maternity leave in the US, I am eligible for only 12 weeks of paid leave. I returned back to work recently and asked my director if I could work from home at least once a week, to which he has agreed for now. Thanks to my office laptop, I can easily login from home every Friday and work from home, providing my full attention to my toddler at the same time. It has also come handy when my child was sick and I had to be present at home to cater to him. This ‘work from home’ option also was beneficial during severe weather conditions like thunderstorm and snow fall. There were numerous days when our team had to ‘work from home’ during harsh winters or severe snowstorms.
“Skype/Calling” – When I am at work, I sneak in an opportunity to skype or call home at least once a day just to talk to my little one, hear him coo and see him smile and laugh. It is a wonderful feeling to feel connected with him during work, and also is rejuvenating when I am having a stressful day at work.
“Baby Monitoring” – You can call me paranoid, but I totally love checking my little one constantly in office over the “hubble app” on my iphone. We have installed motorola baby monitor at home which is fixed to the baby’s crib. Downloading the “hubble” app on your iphone can give you direct access to your LIVE baby’s movements in the crib. I just log into the app sometimes just to watch the LIVE video of him tossing, turning, playing, giggling and sleeping in his crib. It is just an awesome feeling to watch your baby LIVE from office!
“Dialing in” – Whenever I was sick, I had an opportunity to dial in from home and attend important conference calls or video conferences. This helped me to rest at home during my illness and also be virtually present for important calls/meetings.
Demerits of Technology:
“Ruins Vacations” – There have been instances when I am on a vacation and my office laptops/phones accompanied me, because of important projects at work.This ruined the whole idea of “taking a vacation”! What’s the use of carrying your work around when the whole point of vacation is taking a break from work and being with your family?
“Backups Fail” – When I was on maternity leave, few of my backups were unable to run my reports and programs efficiently and were constantly texting/emailing me and bugging me. I understand that it was important for them, but my top priority then was my newborn and my un-disrupted attention towards him. I couldn’t stop feeding him just to answer texts or emails.
“Bringing Work Home” – When I was a kid, my dad used to work from 7AM- 6PM and then bring his work home to work until 9 pm. This was really frustrating for me because I wanted to spend quality time with him, but couldn’t. I made myself a promise that I wouldn’t bring work home to my kids and insisted my husband will do the same. Bringing work home totally ruins your family time.
“Running stuffs from home” – Every Monday, my husband wakes up early in the morning at 5AM just to run few important reports at home, so that he can have it ready for his vice president by 8:30 AM. This is totally frustrating to watch him wake up early and do office work during wee hours of morning.
Hence, everything has both merits and demerits and technology does too. It totally depends on your perspective as how you perceive technology in maintaining your work/life balance.