#work / life balance#work#Internet#cloud computing#mobile devices#connected

Is the Internet Preventing Healthy Work / Life Balance?

|Aug 6|magazine8 min read

A new survey published by accounting software firm Intuit Australia has found that 88 percent of respondents experience significant challenges when running their small to medium business, with a huge 49 percent citing the balance between work and pleasure as a main problem.

The lack of a work / life balance is in actual fact having a negative impact on day-to-day operations of many SMEs.

The research also indicated that Gen Y respondents found the balance harder than the baby boomer generation. The survey questioned more than 1000 Australian SME owners and 55 percent of Gen Y respondents said that work / life balance was a significant challenge compared to 44 percent of baby boomers.

Rich Walker, Intuit Australia Director, Accountant and Bookkeeper noted that Gen Y respondents particularly could be struggling to get their work / life balance right owing to the Internet and its dominance in modern business. With the proliferation of connected mobile devices, Internet engagement has become constant.

“An unhappy customer can now log on at any time of day and write a review that can significantly impact a small business, especially one just starting out,” Walker tells SmartCompany. “As a result, they may feel the pressure to always stay plugged in and connected to business partners, vendors and customers in order to stay on top of an increasingly competitive landscape.”

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Increased Flexibility or a Constant Pressure?

With the increase of mobile devices, cloud services and business apps, SME owners can access their work files almost anywhere. In fact, the survey highlighted that 75 percent of respondents wanted the ability to access the work files out of the office.

“As a result, any level of flexibility, whether that is the ability to access admin files on-the-go or enter expenses while waiting in line at the grocery store, is appreciated, as it means they have more time to spend with the people they love, doing the things they love,” says Walker.

He says business owners need to consider using cloud services and mobile devices so they can work at a place and time that suits them.

“This doesn’t necessarily mean ignoring the kids because you're able to work from your lounge room, but rather, taking advantage of the ability to work on the bus or train during your commute or in a taxi when travelling between meetings, so you can spend the time away from the office actually enjoying the time away from the office.”

However, while some may argue that this gives users the opportunity to spend less time in the office and more time with family and friends, it can also mean that people never log-off, which can be detrimental to business, let alone health.

We are really keen to hear your thoughts on this? Are you a fan of remote access or do you think business should be confined to the office?