Employees Work-Life Balance
Question: The Smartphone Enables Employees Achieve Work-Life Balance. Do you agree or disagree with this claim?
Work-life balance is one of the most discussed topics today. Maintaining a healthy balance between employees work duties, personal responsibilities, and family life is a concern for most companies (Wikipedia, n.d.). One of the world’s technological innovations is smartphones whose inbuilt sophisticated technology makes it protean, ubiquitous and a readily accessible device to people both at home and in their workplaces. Today, smartphones remains an essential tool for survival in every aspect of life. Recent research shows that the number of smartphones users is increasing, and predicts that there will be a shift from 2.1 billion as at 2016 to approximately 2.5 billion users by 2019 (Statista, 2018). Recently, debates about whether smartphones enable employees to achieve work-life balance or not have arisen. The aim of this essay is discussing whether smartphones are enabling or disabling personnel achieve their desired balance between work and lifestyle.
Smartphones Enable Employees Achieve Work-Life Balance
First and foremost, people aspire to give proper prioritization of their work and lifestyle, and this is made possible by smartphones. Smartphones connect employees with their colleagues all over the world enabling them to collaborate more efficiently and quicker. Smartphones access the internet and are installed with data apps that allow employees to access corporate data and engage actively online (Dery, Kolb, & MacCormick, 2014). Important to note, smartphones streamline workflows, and this significantly contribute to enhancing employees’ productivity. Smartphones have changed the way in which employees are expected to work, creating more time for people to interact with their families and friends over the phone while they are still working. Most companies are embracing this technology of smartphones and moving into globalization in which work is no longer restricted in the workplace (Dery, Kolb, & MacCormick, 2014). With Smartphones, employees are working from anywhere, and telecommuting is on the pace. Employees have access to work emails at task lists on a 24/7 hour basis; this means that they are also accessible to their managers and clients.
Second, smartphones act as a powerful real-time tool for professionals to balance both their work roles and lifestyles. While smartphones remain to be highly valued in most employment settings, mobile workplace continues to be the setting where they are required most. Employees use smartphones to keep track of both family and corporate responsibilities concurrently. Although some people argue that mobile phones disrupt employees while at the workplace, smartphones help personnel get updates from families on any emergency issues that arise and require their urgent attention. Profession-wise, smartphones devices enable employees to connect to the internet and skip trace any information deemed essential and helpful in resolving any challenge within the workplace. Recent research shows that most employers are innovating mobile apps in which employees can reduce their task lists from outside the workplace. Employees use smartphones to connect with their couple relationships at a distance to express intimacy while still in the workplace.
Additionally, most people view smartphones are very important in balancing work-life balance for employees. Smartphones enhance the quality of employees’ leisure and social connectedness while in the workplace. Poor balance between work roles and employees personal life not only affects the personnel but also affect the company and its goals. Sometimes employees are stressed to the extent of having a burn out (Derks & Bakker, 2014). Access to smartphones enable employees socializes with friends all over, and this relieves their stress. Most companies support employees’ wellbeing and offer them time to recover from prolonged and challenging work schedules to avoid burn-outs while at work. In this perspective, the use of smartphones while at work significantly help in getting employees more engaged and involved in personal matters for a short time as a way to relieve their tiredness. Further, smartphones help entertain and create fun between workers and their friends all over, and this contributes positively to enhancing their professional productivity.
Smartphones Disable Employees in Achieving Work-Life Balance
While smartphones efficiently provide a prompt means of communication with co-workers, family, and friends, prolonged use is hazardous to people’s health (Science Daily, 2017 June 23). In the context of work-life balance, smartphones have been the worst and most challenging device to control its use and impacts to people. Smartphones use transmitting radio waves via radioactive series whose electromagnetic strengths cause human body ionization. The World Health Organization says that prolonged use of smartphones harms human brain and contributes to deadly diseases such as cancer. Despite the fact that employees who are issued with smartphones by their employers feel obligated to be on phone calls, creating a “work-home interference” and making it “difficult” for smartphone users to enhance a satisfactorily balance between their personal life and work, the issue is more on their healthy living (Yun, Kettinger, & Lee, 2012). Further, smartphones adversely harm people’s emotions and increase employees stress levels while in the workplace. Stress arises when people receive phone calls on emergency issues from their families or friends hence disrupting their concentration and attention on accomplishing the set targets by the employer.
The opponents argue that smartphones make it difficult for employees to take control over their work-life balance in numerous ways. Personal life issues intrude on employees work, and work intrudes on their life matters in a manner that is designed to sway their attention to the immediate and emergent response. Research shows that most employees get disturbed by smartphones through calls and messages something which diverts their attention from work duties to possibly unnecessary issue (Yun, Kettinger, & Lee, 2012). Out-of-hours work communication is viewed to be of low quality; other employees get tired and distracted, and this fundamentally impacts their perceptions of incoming messages and their response. Further, the use of a smartphone in the workplace makes people value their personal life than achieving the set goals of the company efficiently. The popularity of smartphones and access to people makes employees expect constant communications from their peers all the time and make them forget their primary objective of being in the office. In the event the employer bans the use of smartphones by employees, this is unwelcomed by the staff and negatively affects their performance (Deloitte, 2016). As well, this denies them the ability to socialize, interact, and communicate with their friends’ hence establishing the unhealthy working environment.
Technology can be our best friend, and technology can be our biggest threat as far as work-life balance is concerned. Proper prioritization of work and lifestyle for people is important. Smartphones are a major technology whose impact in our lives cannot get ignored. Smartphones enable people to connect and collaborate with colleagues and families over the world. Smartphones enable employees to work from any point and track both professional and family issues concurrently, and this helps in balancing work-life patterns to individuals. Also, smartphones enable people to connect and establish linkages with friends and companies in the most efficient manner. Although smartphone has been an essential survival tool for every individual, the device exposes users to health hazards that whose impact on work-life balance is adverse. However, the strengths of smartphones in enabling employees to achieve work-life balance exceed the risks. Therefore, I strongly agree that smartphones are useful devices in effectively allowing the employees to achieve work-life balance.
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. Mobil Consumer Survey 2016 The Australian Cut Hyper connectivity: Clever consumption. Deloitte. Retrieved from http://landing.deloitte.com.au/rs/761-IBL-328/images/tmt-mobile-consumer-2016-final-report-101116.pdf
Derks, D., & Bakker, A. B. (2014). Smartphone use, work–home interference, and burnout: A diary study on the role of recovery. Applied Psychology, 63(3), 411-440. Retrieved from: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2753/JEC1086-4415160405
Dery, K., Kolb, D., & MacCormick, J. (2014). Working with connective flow: how smartphone use is evolving in practice. European Journal of Information Systems, 23(5), 558-570. Retrieved from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/ejis.2014.13
The Statistics Portal. (2018). Number of smartphone user worldwide from 2014 to 2020 (in billions). Statista. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/330695/number-of-smartphone-users-worldwide/
University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin). (2017, June 23). The mere presence of your smartphone reduces brain power, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170623133039.htm
Work-Life balance. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved March 18, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work%E2%80%93life_balance
Yun, H., Kettinger, W. J., & Lee, C. C. (2012). A new open door: the smartphone’s impact on work-to-life conflict, stress, and resistance. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 16(4), 121-152. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1464-0597.2012.00530.x/full