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Engaged or Disengaged?

Sometimes it is a fine line between being a committed worker and one in need of commitment, especially in an age where technology extends boundaries in a virtually limitless way.

We were reminded of this when reading a BBC report on Volkswagen’s decision to stop its Blackberry servers from sending emails to some employees when they are off shift. The carmaker made the move in 2011 following complaints that staff's work and home lives were becoming blurred (The restriction covers VW employees in Germany working under trade union negotiated contracts.).

According to BBC, this move follows criticism of internal emails by Thierry Breton, chief executive of the French information technology services giant, Atos, who said that workers were wasting hours of their lives on internal messages both at home and at work. Another multinational, the German conglomerate Henkel, declared an email "amnesty" for its workers between Christmas and New Year’s Day, saying messages should only be sent out as an emergency measure.

These moves reflect a growing awareness of the difficulty of keeping a healthy work/life balance. Particularly in trying economic times, the penchant to work obsessively is driven by a belief that it provides added security; in fact, overdoing work can be counterproductive, anxiety producing, and ultimately alienating.

Epicor has long believed that not only does encouraging work/life balance help employees become more engaged and productive, it can also reduce stress levels and create a healthier workforce. As technology has advanced, the line between the personal and professional has blurred. By utilizing HR software, it is easier than ever to find innovative ways to help employees do their jobs and focus on their lives outside the office.

There are several things organizations can do to help employees have a quality work/life balance while remaining productive. From schedule flexibility to different types of leave, companies can work with employees to find what works best for the individual and the enterprise.

Posted by Malcolm Fox, Director, Product Marketing, Epicor HCM

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