Wednesday 30 July, 2014

Technology our ‘frenemy’ in managing work-life balance

Published On: Tue, Jun 17th, 2014 | Technology | By BioNews

Do you respond to an official mail using your smartphone while watching a movie with your kids or helping them with their homework? One way or the other, do remember that the technology — while of help at work and home but also having the potential to be an impediment — is our “frenemy”.

Technology, specially mobile technology, may help you cross the boundaries of work and home at will, but it can also be a hindrance to being fully present in the moment owing to its addictive potential, a new research shows.

When it comes to managing boundaries between work and home life, technology is neither all good nor all bad — technology is our “frenemy”, the findings showed.

The researchers found that full-time working employees can engage in three key strategies when using technology to manage work-home boundaries.

Try “Collocation” that occurs when an individual reports being physically present in one domain while cognitively and behaviourally engaged in both domains — for example, doing laundry in the middle of a work project.

“Distancing” that occurs when an individual either turns off the technology or changes the setting to make oneself unavailable in one domain when engaged in the other.

And the third, “Crossing” which connotes when an individual uses technology as an aid in moving from one domain to another.

“As an example, an individual may use mobile communications technology to bridge between work and home domains by accessing work e-mails via laptop or smartphone near the end of the workday before becoming fully engaged in the home domain,” the study said.

These strategies were often perceived as a help in navigating work-home boundaries,” said Stacie Furst-Holloway, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Cincinnati in the US.

The results were derived from in-depth, qualitative interviews of 33 working professionals.

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