3 Ways UC Improves Employee Work-Life Balance

By Brian Ferguson
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It’s not easy to find a healthy balance between our work and personal lives. For most of us, our jobs provide the means to support ourselves and our family.  A typical work schedule comes with early morning meetings, late nights in the office, and possible travel. Although necessary to do the job, these activities extend our average work day and often take away valuable time from the personal relationships that matter most and eat into the limited time we have carved out for hobbies and relaxation. The good news is that the same technology and tools that have made it possible for us to ‘work anywhere, anytime’ can also helping us manage a bit of work-life balance.

If you believe your typical day is consumed by work, more than anything else, you’re not alone in that thinking. As you can see from the chart below, the average US worker between the ages of 25 and 54, with children, spends more time at work than all other non-sleeping activities – by more than an hour.

chart1

Adding to the gloom, the Mayo Clinic states that unhealthy work-life balance can lead to fatigue and poor health. These facts are proof that our time away from work is extremely valuable and should be protected. Of course we want to do a good job at work and take care of any necessary items; but we need the right tools to help us create a clear delineation between our work and family life to ensure we can be successful at both. Helping people separate their work and family life is another way that Unified Communications can help companies. While it’s important for business to have dedicated and hard working employees, it’s equally important to have employees that are happy, healthy and productive (all which are more likely when there’s good work-life balance). Let’s take a closer look at three ways UC helps employees find the right balance.

 

1. Let People Know You Are Out

When it comes to letting your coworkers and customers know that you’re out and unavailable, UC can do for phone systems what “Out of Office” replies did for email. Many UC systems, including Switchvox, have a feature called Presence that allows a user to publish their current status, companywide. Common presence options are Away, Do Not Disturb, or In a Meeting. For the person who is away and wants to let people know to leave them alone, they can put details in their status. For example, instead of just, “Away,” users can customize to say, “Away-at my son’s baseball game,” “Away-at Disney World,” or “Do Not Disturb-on a beach enjoying a drink with a little umbrella in it.” This type of presence message is available on a user’s desk phone, mobile device, and on the Switchvox Switchboard. There’s a big difference between simply thinking someone is out of the office and knowing they are on a beach; a big enough difference that would more likely keep someone from attempting to bother that person with anything work-related.

 

2. Control Your Call Flow

The other great thing that Presence can do in Switchvox is automatically change your call rules when you change your status. If you’re in St. Thomas and change your status to “on the beach,” you can have all of your calls automatically forwarded to voicemail, or to a coworker who is covering for you when you’re out. With this in place, if someone still insists on contacting you, they are routed to the appropriate place and you are able to continue your R&R.

 

3. Hide Your Personal Identity from Your Work World

When you read articles related to work-life balance, one of the main tips is to only give your personal cell phone number out to people that you can be sure will respect it. It’s not realistic to say that you should not give it to anyone, but you should make sure to protect your personal time by keeping it from customers, patients, and clients, if at all possible. This can be very difficult to do, especially if your primary mode of communication is using your cell phone for outbound calls.

Switchvox solves this problem by allowing users to make and receive calls through a mobile application called the Switchvox Softphone. One of the beauties of the Softphone is that all calls made out through it deliver your work caller-ID information instead of your personal ID. Now you can make work calls from anywhere and not worry about them calling you back on your personal number.

 

Having a healthy work-life balance is extremely vital to your health and success, both at work and at home. As a business owner or manager, your employees will be more productive and loyal if you can provide them with ways to help manage their balance for them, and UC the perfect tool for that purpose.

 

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About the Author

Brian Ferguson

Brian Ferguson is the Product Marketing Manager for Switchvox. Since becoming part of the Digium team in 2010, Brian has worked in multiple sales and marketing roles supporting Diguim’s reseller channel and helping SMB customers use Digium solutions to solve their business telephony challenges. With an additional 10 years of sales management experience in a retail environment, Brian has extensive experience working with a diverse range of technical products and brings a unique perspective in helping problem solve for customers. He graduated with honors with a BS in Business Management from the University of Alabama at Huntsville. He enjoys numerous, short walks on the beach (as opposed to long ones) and loves to travel.

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