Challenged to find time to make it to your sons soccer game? Does another
business trip mean missing a family outing to the zoo? If these scenarios hit
a little too close to home, youre a member of the fast-growing group of
Americans who struggle to maintain a healthy balance between work and family
life. One solution that more professionals are looking to is technology that
cuts the amount of time they spend in the office and on the road.
work schedules, rigorous project deadlines and increased business travel leave
many professionals struggling to strike a balance between their work and family.
As a result, American business people are demanding a commitment to work-life
balance from their employers. Today, workers are less willing to lie about family
needs and to cheat their children out of time. Theyre pushing for family-friendly
Flexibility over work schedule and control over work content have become key
components to job satisfaction. In fact, the Families and Work Institute recently
reported that flexibility at the workplace ranked as the most critical component
for workers to manage responsibility at home and work. These time-management
factors now have a greater impact over job satisfaction and work productivity
than even money and career advancements.
This isnt just a phenomenon in the United States. Workers worldwide want
work-life balance. A recent Yankelovich Partners poll of more than 10,000 workers
across the United States, Europe, Russia and Japan found that the five most
desired qualities in a job are: ability to balance work and personal life, work
that is truly enjoyable, security for the future, good pay or salary and enjoyable
coworkers. Worldwide, the ability to "balance the needs of work and family
or personal life" was either the most or second-most important attribute
in a job.
On The Road Again
So what keeps many business people from achieving balance? Business travel is
among the culprits. Research conducted by MCI WorldCom Conferencing last year
on "Meetings in America" revealed that nearly one-fourth of professionals
feel stressed out when required to travel to business meetings. Causes of this
stress include spending time away from family, arranging to take care of personal
responsibilities and keeping up with work at the office.
"Travel to and from corporate meetings can cause a great deal of anxiety
for many business people, especially when it means extended time away from family
and falling behind on other work assignments," said Jay Crookston, vice
president, worldwide sales, MCI WorldCom Conferencing. "For these workers,
electronic meetings are an alternative to stressful business travel, allowing
professionals to strike a balance between personal and professional lives."
Conferencing Enters the Workforce
More and more business people are finding that conferencing technology can help
them alleviate the stresses involved with balancing work and family issues.
Here are some ways conferencing technology can help busy professionals manage
their work loads:
||Reduce travel Fully one-third of respondents
to MCIs survey on "Meetings in America" said they
are traveling more often now than they did a year ago. Replacing some
of these business trips with audio or videoconferencing enables professionals
to remain productive at the office and enjoy their regular routine
with their families and it provides cost savings for the company.
||Telework Many businesses today are allowing professionals
to work from home full- or part-time to spend more time in the home.
Conferencing helps keep teleworkers connected to the office.
||Stay connected on the road When professionals
are required to travel, conferencing technology can make them more
efficient on the road. Technology helps reduce work piling up at the
office, alleviates time-consuming catch-up and allows them to return
home as soon as possible.