Written by Daniel de Villiers

I believe in that old, slightly overused term: Work/Life Balance. Maybe it’s overused because it is so effective; short, concise, but also complete. Not working all day, every day is important at all ages and stages of life. Not just for parents with young children, or people who deserve some hobby time due to a lengthy career. Even if you are young, with no dependents, you should force yourself to have a life outside of work or your current project. All work and no play – we have enough dull boys out there.

One of the easiest ways to ensure some balance between your professional and personal lives is to have a place of work. The office, the library (am I giving away my age here?), or at the very least a study in your house, where you are not to be disturbed short of blood or fire.

Work from Home

Work from Home has also become a widely used, and now overused, phrase. For obvious reasons, this little sheep-in-wolves’ clothing has crept into the lexicon and is used every day to fool executives, kids, colleagues, and most confusingly, ourselves.

There is no such thing as productively working from home, in comparison to time spent at the office. Productively working in a company with more than 3 employees, includes sharing information with co-workers, learning from them and your seniors, socially interacting with colleagues of all levels, using the resources that your employer provides, and informally updating everyone through your body language or mannerisms. Updating on what? On everything! In a shared working space, it is the sighs, the smiles, the panicked eyes, the phone slamming, the confident walks, and the general mood, that send messages on every subject imaginable, and that gets picked up consciously and sub-consciously by everybody around you: updates on client interactions, company direction, progress on projects, frustration with peers, lack of Work/Life Balance (!), and the general zeitgeist of the industry. The synapses firing in an office, along with the gossip, of course, is what makes a company a company. No great company will grow from a group of individuals sitting at home, with planned, manicured, online interactions as their main form of communication.

There are endless studies and surveys available online that support both the case for working from home and working from the office. Two things are clear in all of them: One, working from home serves the individual, not the employer. All studies that are pro-working from home are focused on the individual’s personal needs. Their health, their time, their kids. Two, the bigger the corporation, the more disparate departments in a company, and thus the more varied the actual work, the more they benefit from having all their people under one roof. To put it bluntly, if you work for yourself and design logos, work from home. If you work for a company, you will do a better job for them, and for your career, if you work in the office.

Smartphones

No desk-and-chair worker can do their job without their smartphone at their side. Two-factor verification apps force you to have a smartphone to be able to access software like Xero, Online banking, Password sites, and even email verification. Because the phone is already part of our desk, it creeps into our communication strategy at work, and now we are sending a WhatsApp message to clients, scanning documents and sending them by mobile mail, or calling from our phones. And because clients and colleagues are doing it as well, it is a train that can hardly be stopped. What we can do, and should do, is force ourselves to not use smartphones for work, whenever we can. If a client sends a message on your phone, and it is not part of your employer’s policy, force yourself to answer by email. If a client calls on your phone, ask to call him back from your landline. Or simply do not answer and call back from your landline. Your phone should be part of Life, in Work/Life, take it back!

Whether you are working from home or the office, our team of business solution specialists knows the difficulties that individuals face in running a successful, prosperous company. Luckily, we have the solutions too. Make sure to contact us today to put an end to your financial frustrations.

Please note that these articles are to be considered general information sheets only and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information therein. Always contact one of your Finleys advisors for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE).