Do Virtual Offices Help or Harm Work-Life Balance?

TORONTO—Work and home lives are “blending” for many Canadian workers. So says a new study from Randstad.

Essentially, this revelation falls in line with a concept known as workshifting. The virtual office is an enabler of this growing workplace trend—and it can also help guard workers from the potential dangers of this blended life.

Indeed, many Canadian workers feel the line between work and home is becoming increasingly blurred. This is a running theme in many of the 29 nations Randstad surveyed. It seems the overlap between work and private time in Canada is substantial. Consider the statistics:

    • 46% handle private matters during working hours


    • 51% handle work-related matters in private time


    • 44% receive work-related calls or e-mails when on holiday


    • 53% receive call/e-mails outside of office hours


    • 44% receive calls/emails on holiday


    • 29% are expected to be available 24/7


    • 43% feel they fall short if not responding immediately


    • 46% handle private matters during working hours

"Technology has redefined the traditional workplace as we know it. For instance, employees are working at home, shopping at work, attending school at home, connecting to training webinars at work, and learning new job skills from their children and grandchildren,” says Stacy Parker, executive vice president of Marketing for Randstad Canada. “No generation has ever been this connected, and for good and bad, there is a fusion going on between home and work. We don't stop living when we go to work and, very often today, we don't stop working when we arrive home.”

Parker says technology has merged our working and personal lives, creating a more unified experience. But she also says this type of work-life conflict can become a serious problem that impacts both employees and employers.

"Today's workers have many competing responsibilities: work, children, housework, volunteering, and so on,” she says. “Balancing all of these things can be stressful. Based on past research which ranked what 7,000 of Canada's job seekers where looking for in an employer, we have in fact found that almost half of the respondents (48%) indicated having a good work life balance as one of the most attractive qualities in a potential employer.”

Virtual offices can help employees find work-life balance and avoid becoming overworked. To be sure, virtual offices and telecommuting can help employees accomplish more in less time with fewer distractions. This not only drives up productivity, it can reduce absenteeism. As a tool to drive work-life balance, allowing employees to work from virtual offices can help strengthen employee loyalty, productivity, and overall happiness, making it a win-win scenario for everyone involved.

Check out this video from TEDxSydney on work-life balance:



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