Is Cloud Technology Affecting Your Work-Life Balance?
Advances in technology can easily end up being double-edged swords. Cloud technology that frees us from geographical constraints, such as smartphones and video chat, can wind up enabling us to work longer and harder than before.
Cloud computing is changing the way employees work, by giving them constant access to their jobs, even when they’re out of the office. It’s hard enough to maintain a good work-life balance; when you have instant access to data and software from anywhere, the temptation to keep working beyond reasonable expectations can be tremendous.
Workers may be excited at the freedom they have to do their jobs with the help of cloud computing services and may be afraid that their employment could be jeopardized if they aren’t always available and in the loop with their technology. Employers who care about the long-term health and welfare of their employees must take steps to make sure they achieve a healthy work-life balance.
When your company relies on cloud services, like a Rackspace-hosted SharePoint install or SalesForce, to work with remote servers instead of in-house computers, the IT department saves time because it doesn’t have to spend hours getting servers up and running. There’s the added benefit of not having to monitor the equipment, troubleshoot problems or keep things patched and updated on a regular basis. That work’s being done by the cloud services company, so you can focus on more important tasks.
Being able to access software from anywhere is a great innovation that helps companies stay nimble. They don’t have to concern themselves with maintaining the software, and workers are able to do their jobs from home or even a local cafe or park, should the mood strike. As long as workers are still productive, management may prefer to keep them happy and let them telecommute.
If an employee uses a smartphone to access his company’s data that’s backed up in the cloud it doesn’t matter where he is.
This can result in an engineer just checking in before dinner while the family is gathered around the table waiting for him to join them. Before he realizes it, 20 minutes have gone by and faces that were once smiling are now glaring at him for working too hard. Telecommuters relying on cloud services may find themselves working harder than they normally would in the office in an effort to appear hard-working to their bosses.
Striving for balance
Employers should set clear policies about how their employees work with cloud services when they are off-site. A manager can make exceptions for short periods, such as during crunch time on an important project, but the company’s executives must be careful about falling into a state of constant emergency that requires all hands on deck for months at a time.
The toll such overwork takes on employees makes burning the midnight oil unsustainable. Recruiting, hiring and training new employees to replace burned out workers will cost more than if the company simply made everyone work at a more reasonable pace and strive for better work-life balance.