New research from software provider Caseware has found that a staggering number of accountants are losing the battle between work and life thanks to technology.
According to the Caseware report, 70% of respondents continue working by using their smartphones. While 60% of respondents refuse to take a lunch break and eat their lunch from their desk.
Caseware argues that these accountants who use technology to continue working after hours are using technology ineffectively. “New technology should not be about making people work longer and harder,” writes Caseware.
Many workers find it difficult to switch off. CABA recently posted the signs workers should recognise to ensure their work/life balance doesn’t suffer – encouraging accountants to ask whether:
- They find it difficult to relax when they’re not working
- Their family complain that they hardly see them; or
- They’re neglecting their hobbies.
Accountants who answer yes to these questions may face possible burnout. Entrepreneur Nick Jankel Eliot told Businesszone how it took three years to recuperate from his burnout. He bounced back by addressing his attitude towards the way he worked – allocating time for personal rejuvenation. "A really successful athlete will train incredibly hard, but in order to perform to his maximum potential he needs to spend time on rejuvenation,” Eliot said. “Yes, entrepreneurship takes hard work and effort, but there’s a difference between hard work and working all the time."
Working long hours also doesn’t translate into doing a good job. “Those who check their email every spare moment they have are often not doing such a great job,” says AccountingWEB.com columnist Jeff Davidson. “Avoid that trap by enhancing your offline effectiveness.”
According to a CABA report, screen addiction is not only an issue for your work/life balance it can also be a health concern. “Some studies claim there may be links between prolonged screen time and serious conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, simply because when you’re stuck behind a screen, you’re inactive,” writes CABA.
If you are attached to your smart phone, CABA suggests drawing up some usage guidelines or impose tech-free times. “You could create a timetable of activities, and include not just screen time but active and family time too,” CABA suggests. Even the US President, Barack Obama, sets aside family time at 6.30pm every evening to maintain a work and life balance.
While the Caseware survey shows many accountants working into the evening, a strong contingent are using technology to establish firm boundaries between work and life. 87% say they never or rarely miss family commitments. The answer to reclaiming your work/life balance is not through completely ditching technology, but using it more effectively. For example:
Video conferencing enables workers attend meetings and reduces travel time and provides more flexibility.
Schedule tweets: Social media is an effective tool in networking and building your brand. However, you don’t have to monitor your twitter feed constantly. By scheduling tweets, using social management tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, you can maintain your social media presence without constantly checking.
Ditch email: Slack and Basecamp helps teams to communicate, rather than searching through emails for the appropriate attachment or following long email chains. This tool brings all your teams' communication into one place. Having a communal correspondence will help you delegate easier, rather than feeling like you have to take all the responsibility.
Read the Caseware’s report on the impact technology has on accountant’s working lives over on our supplier’s page.
About Richard Hattersley
Richard is AccountingWEB's practice correspondent. If you have any comments or suggestions for us get in touch.