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Embracing Tech to Improve Work-life Balance, What National Bank’s Sean St. John, Others Say

For many of today’s top executives, being available 24-7 via smartphone has become an essential part of doing business. But there are ways to handle your dependence on technology without giving up complete control of your life.

Encouraging business leaders to step back from their work and take time for themselves will have the desired effect only if they are given the means to do so, says Alex Arundale, group HR director at Advance, in a blog posted on the U.K. website Director. That means encouraging staff not to work after hours by checking texts or e-mails.

“We all know that achieving a better work-life balance can be tough,” Arundale says. “To change ingrained habits — for instance, regularly working late — it’s essential to understand the strategies behind reducing the pressure of work. One solution is to unlock productivity by ensuring that everyone can work smarter, not harder.”

Arundale suggests using cloud services to help you focus on your organization’s core activities, obtain economies of scale and minimize costs. “Providing a real-time view of key operations, they offer you greater control and give access to data that can help you run every part of your enterprise more smoothly,” Arundale said.

Use digital technology to simplify your life and keep you connected, says Sean St. John, an executive vice president at National Bank, with 25 years of experience in the financial sector.

Toronto’s Sean St. John says he’s excited by technological advances.

“Some people talk about their iPhones and say we are spending too much time on the phone but I think It’s actually a wonderful way that people can now stay connected. We can do other things in our day. I’m a single dad and some days I leave work early to go see my son play hockey and I can still be in touch with everybody and answer questions from the office. Embracing technology can offer a great work-life balance,” he said in an interview.

Mark Cropley is a professor at the University of Surrey in England and the author of “The Off-Switch: Leave Work on Time, Relax Your Mind But Still Get More Done.” He maintains that you can improve your health and productivity at work by doing this like not reading e-mails after office hours.

“Work has a nasty habit of creeping up on some people,” Cropley said in a Medium blog post. “Before realizing it they find themselves working in the evenings, either finishing projects or checking emails to make life easier for the next day,” Cropley said. “But this means they can’t switch off.”

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance comes with some perhaps unexpected side effects. When we give ourselves time to unwind and relax outside the workplace, the mind then has space to think and produce ideas. In a constantly stressful environment, there’s no time to think and create new ideas. By using technology wisely, we can reap its benefits without letting it dominate our lives.

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Jan Hines

A startup nerd and compulsive writer, Jan provides streamline information on the hottest trends and news.

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