As a result of increased stress levels in the work-life household management is a prerequisite to ensure work-life balance. Work can be defined as the gainful employment or career engagement activities while life refers to the social events through which we interact with our families and friends. Since the invention of smartphone technology (19th century), many employees struggle to achieve a balance between their work and private life. Smartphones have made it possible for workers to go about their official activities and fulfill their job roles from any location. Due to this, many individuals and organizations have performed studies and carried out numerous researchers focusing on the ability of workers to maintain a WLB. I firmly believe technological advancement resulting in computing devices among them smartphones are the worst thing to happen in this lifetime and it makes it even much harder for employees to maintain control of their WLB.
Research shows that less control over WLB had a significant impact on individual lives in relation to health, economic status, social roles and brought about legal issues. An article in The Guardian describes smartphones as Trojan horses through which work penetrates our homes (Ian, 2014). It is evident that the few cases of individuals in control of their WLB are healthier, happier and more productive. Smartphones have brought about various health issues. For example, surveys conducted by The Conversation showed that most of the individuals who use smartphones to work feel compelled to work longer and later hours (Stefanie & Michal, 2017). It further went on to explain that workers customarily interweave leisure with work by being feasible and susceptible to work-related demands even during their leisure time. With the current globalized and highly digitized economy, the mobile workers are not able to go about their work activities within the boundaries of normal working days. Instead, they find it impossible to switch off work during leisure time completely. Russell Johnson states that smartphones are nearly designed to disrupt sleep. For example, a mobile worker does not mind logging on to remotely accessible servers in the middle of the night just because they feel obligated to work. This has health repercussions to victims and may lead to professional burnouts, depersonalization among other health problems. Excessive reliability of technology also has a negative on our brain, the hippocampus to be precise. The presence of reminder apps has led us into trusting our devices with our memories. For example, most of us don't rely on our memories to remember organically. Instead, we prefer to note down everything on our smartphones. Research conducted by Nielsen showed that a large number of American workers reported having experienced chronic body pains as a result of bad they had developed from using smartphones (Charlotte, 2017). This proves that the use of smartphones indeed has a negative impact on our health life.
Studies show that smartphones have a great influence on most individuals neglecting their social roles. Use of smartphones eventually leads to technological addiction. Constant use of smartphones also destroys our attention levels (Ian, 2014). For examples, most individuals end up being absorbed into their phones, scrolling through social media to be precise during supper, lunch breaks or other family and friend moment. This is among the very irritating habits that disrupt family and personal time. This is mainly due to the ideology that possessing a smartphone means constant communication. Social roles are a vital factor that helps define who we are based on how we interact with our peers and the involvement of individuals should be considered from a behavioral and psychological perspective (Frone, 2003). For example, in a family structure lack of a WLB results in issues such as divorces and shaky relationships between family members unlike in the traditional family. It is up to every individual to take the initiative of reducing their reliance on smartphones, only then will it be possible to have control over WLB.
WLB has various implication on the aspect of the economy. Most of this implications tend to lie on the positive side, but lack of WLB due to excessive use of smartphones still has some bad influences on the organization's economy. Studies evaluate some approaches to the new economy and then explores how the new mobile working sector has been materialized by individuals working in the new environment (Carlson, Dianne & Frone, 2003). It continues to explain how the new technologies such as the use of smartphones and patterns of working make it possible for spatial boundaries of paid work to be stretched therefore allowing people to become involved and this reduces gender inequality. However, critical analysis of the patterns of ownership and earnings indicate that even with these opportunities to put together paid work and caring responsibilities, a marked gender imbalance remains. The government of UK considers an approach adopted by employees to balance work and their domestic obligations as successful but studies challenge the inference as well as the outcomes. There is the uneven adoption of the approach across different organizations leading to lack of formalization of policies at an organizational level regarding mobile working. This leaves untrained line managers with discretion over policy application. This concludes that numerous employees continue to experience difficulty while balancing work with their domestic economic responsibilities (Hayman, 2004).Attempt to gain control of WLB leads to legal risk to the employees. Due to these employers set in motion work/life programs to increase productivity, retain staff, enhance diverse recruitment and detention and decrease turnover among other reasons. Mobile working using the current computing devices makes it very possible for legal issues such as gender stereotyping (Jennifer, 2007). Officers in the managerial department are very likely to make assumptions about abilities of certain employees based on gender. For example, assuming that a mother will not accept the promotion that requires relocation or working late shifts. This makes them culpable to charges of discrimination against employees with family responsibilities. Due to this reasons, employers or managers should remember that they are legally obliged to regulate the number of hours the employees work in a week. This applies to both workers who work from the office and those who work from home or nearby corporate locations. However, mobile working has made this a challenge. Since it is difficult for the legislative arm of the government to keep tabs on mobile jobs, it is a much more significant challenge to enact these laws. Therefore, mobile employees who use computing technologies willingly working for long hours end up losing control of their WLB since they are not answerable to the law.
Ultimately, new innovative technologies undoubtedly bring with them benefits and disruptions. Based on our different points of views, we perceive this pros and cons differently. However, based on the facts outlined and discussed above, the disruptions brought about by these innovative technologies, in our case smartphones, far outweigh the benefits. Due to this, I, therefore, conclude that in order to achieve work-life balance we have to reduce and if possible avoid the addictive of innovative technologies such as smartphones.
Carlson, D. S., & Frone, M. R. (2003). Relation of Behavioral and Psychological Involvement to a New Four-Factor Conceptualization of Work-Family Interference. Journal of Business and Psychology, 17(4). Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1023404302295
Feldman, J. B. (2007). The Flexible Workplace: Improving Work/Life Balance While Minimizing Legal Risk. The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel. Retrieved from http://ccbjournal.com/pdf/2007/June/40.pdf
Gran, B. (2015, March 15). Is technology really making our lives more stressful? Retrieved from https://switchon.eaton.com/plug/article/451/is-technology-really-making-our-lives-more-s#modal
Hyman, J., & Summers, J. (2004). Lacking balance? Worklife employment practices in the modern economy. Personnel Review, 33(4), 418-429. doi:10.1108/00483480410539498
Lieberman, C. (2017, April 13). Device-Free Time Is as Important as Work-Life Balance. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2017/04/device-free-time-is-as-important-as-work-life-balance
Reissner, S. (2017, December 19). How mobile working ruins work-life balance ? unless you've got a good manager. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/how-mobile-working-ruins-work-life-balance-unless-youve-got-a-good-manager-89182
Sample, I. (2017, November 30). Are smartphones making our working lives more stressful? Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/sep/18/smartphones-making-working-lives-more-stressful
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