With online meetings making telecommuting and remote work easier than ever, why do so many of us still seem to struggle with work/life balance?
In less than a month, two Silicon Valley executives have taken a step down from their prestigious positions. On March 10, 2015, Google’s CFO, Patrick Pichette, announced his retirement. Shortly thereafter, Uber’s CFO, Brent Callinicos also stepped down from his position. What led both executives to leave their posts?
A lack of work/life balance.
Pichette’s announcement began with, “After nearly 7 years as CFO, I will be retiring from Google to spend more time with my family.” He went on to say, “I want to share my thought process because so many people struggle to strike the right balance between work and personal life.”
Callinicos’s memo echoed the same sentiments, revealing his struggles with a work/life balance and that for him, it is “Time, now, for the heart’s desire.” Though both men were in positions that probably allowed for them to take ample vacation time, they clearly both still felt the pressures of needing to be omnipresent in the workplace.
Telecommuting Your Way to Better Balance
If you live to work, then you have probably never experienced the insatiable need to achieve a work/life balance. But if you prioritize your personal relationships above those formed in the workplace, then the decision that Pichette and Callinicos made seems like a step in the right direction.
Granted, not all of us can just resign on a whim and be financially stable, but telecommuting is a viable solution to achieve that work/life balance that many desire. There’s a reason that telecommuting has become so popular in the last decade. It frees up the daily onerous commute, it allows for a healthier lifestyle and gives the freedom to get daily household tasks done.
But if you’re a parent, the biggest benefit of telecommuting is how family-friendly it is. Being able to log in to an online meeting and simultaneously be available for children if some sort of emergency occurs is a huge win for working parents. It gives them the flexibility to get work done during times that better fit their hectic schedules.
This flexibility is crucial for the modern day working parent. During most of our history, both parents were not commuting to work every day—and during certain periods, neither parent was. One of the many factors leading to an increase in both parents working away from home is that technology has created more jobs according to Futurework, Trends and Challenges for Work in the 21st Century, a study from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Technology: The Problem and Solution
Yes, technology has arguably drawn parents away from the home for more than two-thirds of their day, but now technology also has the power to bring them back. With new business collaboration tools, parents have the ability to connect to online meetings right from their homes, cars or even soccer practice, letting them stay productive at work without having to be completely removed from their family obligations.
An online meeting tool like iMeet®, for example, allows you to join a meeting on web, video or audio right from your desktop, smartphone or tablet. You can share files, host presentations and collaborate with your colleagues right from your couch, freeing you from being chained to your desk while still keeping you connected.
I’m not going to argue that being in the workplace isn’t beneficial for building crucial relationships with colleagues, but why should we dedicate five days (or more) a week to fostering relationships with our coworkers instead of our families?
Thanks to new collaboration tools that allow us to host or join that conference call, online meeting or webinar from our home instead of our desk, we don’t have to choose between building familial bonds over keeping our jobs.