By Oliver Chivers (pictured), Head of Business Marketing, T-Mobile UK.
Nowadays, the words work and stress seem inextricably entwined, as the workplace has come to represent a mountain of unfinished tasks, all with looming deadlines.
There don’t seem to be enough hours in the working day and the consequence is often work begins to encroach upon the few precious hours of free time we allow ourselves.
Whether it be longer hours in the office or simply the anxiety of impending tasks, it is not unusual for people to have difficulty striking a balance between work and play.
In a recent T-Mobile survey of entrepreneurs, 46 per cent of respondents started their business in order to achieve a better work-life balance, and yet 38 per cent find this difficult to achieve.
In an age of constant innovation and technological development, surely there must be a way to preserve a healthier work-life balance and reduce stress levels without infringing upon professional obligations?
The good news is that there are technologies available to help solve this problem, ensuring that work hours are as productive as possible and reducing the amount of dead-time spent travelling.
By helping employees to improve in these two areas, mobile technologies can help to reduce stress and ensure that free time can be enjoyed.
Internet on the move is one such technology, enabling more efficient use of time and offering greater personal freedom for team members to manage their workload.
I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling frustrated sitting helplessly on a stationary train, immobilised by forces beyond my control, unable to get on with the report that needs finishing or without access to an urgent document sitting in my inbox.
There is now a plethora of devices available enabling cost-effective services on the move, including mobile broadband, synched e-mail on mobile phones and applications to give access to documents on portable devices and laptops.
The growing popularity of these devices illustrates the need to transform dead-time into productive work-time.
Mobile working also gives workers the ability to choose their location, which can have a significant impact on achieving a positive work-life balance and reducing stress levels.
Our survey on work locations found that nearly half of British workers believe a change of location would increase their productivity levels (48 per cent) and improve their work-life balance (46 per cent).
Indeed, mobile working facilitates employees working from home, allowing constant and reliable contact with the office as well as helping us to work around domestic commitments.
The stress of being tied to the nine-to-five model is greatly reduced, as the day can be altered when necessary to incorporate unanticipated changes.
Even if working from home on a regular basis is not a feasible option, having access to high-speed mobile broadband on a laptop means that if the current office environment is not conducive to creative and efficient work, you can always get a change of scenery by going to your local coffee shop for an hour or two.
T-Mobile Wi-Fi HotSpots can be found all over the world, with over 1,000 in the UK alone, making it possible to maintain communications and work on necessary documents while gaining the refreshing boost of a change of location.
Our survey also found that a change of this type can be conducive to creativity, as almost a third of office workers believe they could be more inspired if they switched location.
The stresses and strains of the typical office - too hot, too cold, too loud, too many distractions - can be evaded and creativity increased by varying your location and finding your own ideal setting, if just for a little while.
Another frequent source of anxiety amongst workers is time wasted on meetings which could easily have been executed via e-mail, phone or even the web, saving time on travel and usually ensuring that the discussion becomes more focused and concise.
I remember reading a survey by WebEx, which found that over a third (37 per cent) of face-to-face meetings are considered unnecessary and often counterproductive.
Online web-conferencing applications can offer an alternative to inefficient meetings, allowing attendees to work together on documents as well as incorporating the visual element of in-person meetings through video, yet without the need to spend time travelling to and from office locations.
Taking control of your time and exploiting the technologies around you can help create a more satisfying professional environment, helping you to be more productive during work hours, and reducing stress levels by allowing you to strike a healthier work-life balance.
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