Blackberrys, iPhones, video conferencing and other mobile devices.. more and more women are using technology to improve their work life balance and enhance connectivity between work and family.

Some time back I was listening to an online interview with an executive mom where she was raving about her Blackberry and her capabilities to connect to an office meeting while being physically present at her kids’ soccer game. The gadgets gave her the flexibility to be able to be away from the workplace and at the same time remain connected with work while being there at her kid’s activities.

But a question does arise – while at this multitasking how much attention was she able to devote to the both activities she was simultaneously involved at? But yet again, as she would say, does it matter if she was not completely present at the soccer game mentally – her physical presence there mattered more to the child. And yet again – is it really true? A debatable question but at least she was able to do it all. At managing work and family there is always a give and take it is up to each of us to assess and manage our time and priorities.

The question is not as much as “is multitasking efficient when managing work and family?” as much as “how well you can juggle and multitask efficiently to get it all done?”

In an interesting article comparing the Freudian principles and sayings to today’s modern day work-life balance issues, the author Leon Gettler says,
Globalization and technology have created the syndrome of 24/7 availability, culminating in what a recent study by the New York-based Centre for Work-Life Policy described as “four in a bed relationships” – two people, two Blackberrys. One could only wonder what Freud would have said about that!
These changes have profound implications for lifestyles and relationships, and product and service offerings.How, for example, does a company sell its product when it is no longer clear anyone’s home? Or, if they are, they could be catching up with work or checking emails. Alongside the internet and pay TV, the fragmentation of the home – the basic economic unit – is one of the forces that has contributed to the decline of free-to-air television.”
The point is if and how well are the modern day gadgets supporting and facilitating the busy life style and how well they are at work at work-life balance, the bottom line would be how well they are working for you and how efficient they make you in today’s break-neck work culture and an almost acceptable 70-80 hour work week that we are getting trapped in the 21st century.
Also by remaining “online and connected” always, how much work are we letting in creep to our once free time?
An insightful comment from María José Sobrini, internet business solutions manager and head of women’s initiatives, Cisco Spain, “You have to structure your “connected” time. Cisco only expects me to be the best at my job, be productive, a team-player and the best in the market. But Cisco doesn’t ask me to put my family aside or forget about my holidays, free time or hobbies. It’s a matter of organising your time, responsibilities and priorities but this philosophy requires employees to be responsible, productive and accountable. Some colleagues think they’d be unproductive at home so it requires a mental shift to get the best from technology, flexibility, and mobility, both for the company and the employee. This needs to be accompanied by clearer and more specific performance management.”
And if we need yet another point to ponder on, how about thinking and analyzing how multitasking is really helping us in our daily lives or making it more complicated and stressful?
As an afterthought, if the technology and some multitasking is helping us get more done in less time and also we get to devote the much needed time for family and kids as one conducts a video conference to another country from the luxury of a home office, some stress and time management are part and parcel of the give and take that we talk about. Howsoever we may talk about the stress of the modern life, if we manage well and if it works well for us, the modern gadgets can be a boon for a working mother and also perhaps invite more innovation in future to enhance the quality of work-life balance for all.