Have we lost the work-life balance?

Work-life balance, we talk about it all the time. It’s so important to make sure you have a balance between your work and home life – we’re big advocates of it here. The last year has turned everything upside down and we’ve been at home permanently, so it has made the topic even more important and more widely discussed. Is work-life balance even a ‘thing’ anymore or have we progressed into something more fluid?

There are many factors to be considered when addressing the work-life balance argument – for me, they all centre around technology. Technology has allowed us to change the once rigid working environment – with a set place of work and working hours – to be much more fluid and relaxed. This advancement allows for far greater flexibility, but can add extra challenges for keeping the structure in place between your work and social life.

Remote working

Remote working allows us to work from anywhere, not just in the office. At home, on a train, in another office, even abroad. In most cases, all you need is your laptop and phone and Wi-Fi connection and you’re away. This flexible working allows employees to work in different places, where they may feel happier, more productive or more creative. It means they are able to work while they travel to a social event or go away for some peace and quiet, without taking holiday. Allowing work and life to intertwine can lead to a much happier, healthier and more productive team.

Flexitime

Flexitime gives employees the freedom to choose their hours to fit around their other commitments outside of work. This blurs the lines, but in my opinion in a positive way – you can work around dropping off your kids, having a personal appointment or event meeting friends. You do not need to sacrifice your work or your personal commitments – you still do your hours and get your work done but can also do the things in your personal life that are important.

Technology

Mobile phones and laptops are great because you can take them easily wherever you go, to work remotely. But this often comes with its own problems – if you use the same laptop or phone for both personal use and for work, it can be difficult to switch off. Many phones have emails and Slack and other forms of communication for work connected to them, which allows totally switching off from work almost impossible! There are solutions though – whether it’s keeping a separate phone for work or turning off notifications for certain apps, you can still maintain healthy barriers. Turning your phone to ‘do not distrub’ mode at times also helps to switch off – whether it is to concentrate on a project for work or to do something personal, it’s good to have some quiet time to concentrate.

Blurred lines

All these technological factors blur the lines between your work life and your home life. But is it necessarily a bad thing? In my opinion, the freedom and flexibility businesses and employees now have, to work where and when they want, is brilliant. And, although the factors blur the lines so work can creep into your home life, it also means your home life can merge into work-life too – you are able to juggle other responsibilities around work, rather than following a strict 9-5 Monday – Friday in the office. Less need to sacrifice things, including our own health. Having said that, it is still really important to make sure you keep a balance and sometimes – press the off button!

If you need some practical tips to help you, here are 6 tips for a better work-life balance.

Carl Hinett is our Director & Executive Search Specialist. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch carl@refind.co.uk.

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All you need to know about AI, VR and tech in HR

Are we all going to be out of a job soon?

We have had a look at some of the hottest technology trends in HR which are continuously developing and driving improvement in the industry.

Technology in recruitment

As time goes on and technology improves, HR Toolbox explains that, “modern recruitment management systems are increasingly relied upon. Companies can no longer afford to employ outdated strategies to discover, engage and nurture top talent.”

Technology and software can massively help recruitment teams by completing the time-consuming work that can be automated. It can also help to be more targeted in their search, allowing them to find the best candidates, much quicker.

HR Toolbox goes on to say, “The process will be optimised from start to finish, allowing HR to refine and perfect their onboarding process with less variation. In addition to learning management systems that foster better team training and communication, more companies will consider what machine learning and artificial intelligence has to offer. Chatbots and similar technology may take on more low-level tasks like scheduling and providing basic information. This will free up HR professionals to spend more time on important relationship-building activities with candidates.”

AI as a partner, not a threat

This is a biggie – embracing AI as a partner, not looking at it as a threat to us – which seems to be a growing trend across many industries. HR Dive talks about the shift in only the last couple of years to general attitudes:

“As Waletzke monitored conversations about tech throughout the last two years, he observed a radical shift. ‘The overall temperature of conversations completely changed. 2017 was robots are going to steal our jobs … now there is starting to be this embrace of technology,’ he said. “We’re really looking at ways we can use AI or machine learning to automate the talent acquisition experience so we can dive deeply into the one-on-one relationships.”

VR meets HR

Virtual reality is emerging as the hottest trend in the HR tech market – and it’s not a not passing fad. Virtual reality (VR) is a 3D computer-created world that allows you to experience and interact with things that aren’t there. It could prove to be revolutionary for the HR and recruitment world.

A blog from Sympa gives a great example: “A well-known example of the successful use of VR technology is The British Army, who already uses VR to overcome its recruitment challenges. It recently created four VR experiences based on combat training, adventure training, tank training and parachute training. These were then posted on YouTube 360 as a part of their recruitment strategy. The results were excellent, with an increase in applications of 65% in the first month the campaign ran and an increase of 41% in the second month.”

VR can be used in many interview processes, to allow candidates to prove their skill level and in training to give real-life on-the-job training.

What are the hot trends you’re jumping on? To discuss further, you can email me on James@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist here.

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