Unified Communication and the work life balance

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Now everyone goes on about the work life balance, working smarter and optimising your business day but what part does UC play in this. Is it an efficiency enabler or intrusion?

In the good old days (20 years ago) when you needed to be at your desk to communicate and not contactable if you were out of the office, unless you were one of the lucky people with a text pager, life was very simple. If someone wanted you they would; call your desk phone and leave a voice message if you were not there; send a fax or letter; leave a message with your secretary or send a message to your pager. Very LIFE work balance.

Roll on a couple of years and the cell phone becomes more common for the upwardly mobile. Grabbing time to yourself became a bit harder and the 60 minutes lunch break sitting under a tree was now being disturbed by work colleagues and customers breaking into your 'me time'. Still LIFE but WORK tipping the scales a bit more.

Very shortly after the cell came text messaging and email (firstly Internet accounts then internal to the organisation). This is the point WORK started to take over the life balance mainly due to the culture of email one person and copy in 5, the corporate version of 'if you want luck send this to ten people in the next 5 mins' chain mail.

Within the last 10 years Unified Communication started with voice mail and fax integration into email. This was followed by dedicated presence and IM applications which evolved into Skype type service with the inclusion of voice and video. These application along with email on the smart device (phones/pads) are all well and good but rather than freeing us to work can provide constant disturbances delayed us from completing tasks. Quick show of hands please, who is more productive from 5pm to 7pm than from 9am to 5pm. Very much WORK life balance.

Currently UC is coming more prevalent and is starting to include social media information about individuals making our work and life a single entity. Personally I think that UC is an enabler and like the option to read my email on my smart phone as I rush between meetings, catch-up on tweets and read Facebook updates on whatever device is at hand.

So the big question is do you think as individuals and employees are we focused more on work even in our leisure time or are our personal lives pushing into work time?

Andy Shuttlewood

Credit: © IckeT - Fotolia.com
 

Nicolas Jacquey
Andy Shuttlewood

I'm a highly respected telecoms professional with 23 years' experience and I currently manage the UK Consulting team within Orange Business Services.