Remote work and technology impact on family life

June 1, 2020
5 min read
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How hectic can it be to work from home?

The usual discussion surrounding remote work focuses on how productive one can be to the company’s benefit. Little attention is paid to how remote work truly affects family lifes. According to a study, telecommuting or remote working is more common in developing countries than developed countries.

Remote work is attractive to workers as it cuts down on costs associated with transportation and time for commuting. Most importantly, for employees with children, work flexibility reduces the anxieties of working at a distance from their children’s schools. Remote workers can also benefit from cheaper housing and possibly raise larger families. It might not be as obvious, but where a person lives greatly affects how many children they have or plan on having. Are remote workers able to have a work life balance?

A good work life balance will mean being able to do your work without overworking yourself, and having enough time to focus on your private life. Realistically, working from home can create an unsteady balance where unexpected events or emergencies from family can affect your daily routine, or a tight deadline from work will require overtime. Therefore technology may not be able to create the ideal work life balance we hoped for.

A survey by CareerBuilder found that 50% of workers check their email outside of working hours. A worrying result was that 24% of workers do so while engaged in activities with family and friends. Also, workers between the ages of 18 and 24, felt obliged to engage with work outside of work hours. As workers want more flexibility in their schedules-thanks to improvement in technology, working outside the traditional 9-5 should be allowed. However, employees must work on managing their control over technology. Checking emails or being involved with work activities while engaging with family and friends is not a healthy behaviour. Gaining ownership of your work and personal life contributes to increased productivity, good health and well being.

Considering the global health crisis we face today, many businesses have shifted to remote work. Adjusting to this new way of operating and connection can be challenging especially with children at home. Let’s explore a few ways to balance remote work while your family is also at home.

  1. Plan to the least detail and set priorities while at it. Taking it one day at a time and trying to meet work expectations and family as they come up can be stressful to handle. Separate your “office” from your home. Working from your bed or couch is not the best. Get a makeshift office. Also, figure out how best that will work with your family duties and predict the best time to work. Do you work best at night when there is less activity and silence or you prefer the day?
  1. Talk to you bosses about any obstacles you are facing while working from home and managing a family. Do not give room for your employers to make assumptions about your situation. Working fathers may be perceived to have more time on their hands due to gender bias. Such incorrect perceptions can affect the load of tasks assigned to you.
  1. Get as much sleep, eat healthy diets, and meditate. Your family and workplace both benefit from your good health. Also, aim to fulfill the essential daily requirement of your jobs to help you make time for your family physically and mentally. Nevertheless, give your best shot at everything you do.
  2. Make sure to communicate effectively with your team as this avoids unnecessary tension. Sharing your thoughts in time and frequently to avoid blaming your teammates.

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