Work-life balance: Tradition needs to be challenged

Posted on: October 18, 2018 by Mike Harm

Challenging traditional device ownership — think ridesharing

Enterprises can gain another workplace advantage by challenging the traditional IT device ownership model. I relate this back to the days of the company car — an obsolete diatribe of 20th century thinking in our new age of ubiquitous rentals, ridesharing and easy mileage-expense reimbursements. Like automobiles; PCs, mobile phones and tablets are easily rented, leased and OpEx-financed today.

This would have had little impact on TCO in traditional management scenarios. However, coupling today’s device subscription services with lightweight modern management and unified endpoint management (UEM) programs could dramatically change the enterprise’s workplace technology cost per user. Thanks to some of these programs that traverse the consumer-enterprise boundary, ownership and financing costs can even be shared by the employee and employer. This level of balance gives both what they want: productivity and personal choice, with lower ownership costs on both sides.

Employee experience and expectations

For prospective employees, work-life balance management really becomes an expectation in choosing employers, not a wow factor. These applied examples fulfill much of the IT-side requirements for such programs, and will become the standard operating model for employment of the new generation of talent. It enables you to work when you need to, to be productive. And it personalizes the experience, allowing choice and convenience, without dropping your digital context.


I’ve been seeing more reports and studies recently about the importance of work-life integration, rather than separation. A major contributor to work burnout is the fact that it’s such a separation from our lives. Doesn’t it seem like people who are always working, are actually just trying to integrate the two? A lot of those same people, myself included, aren’t necessarily productive during their day because of life distractions. Or they feel locked in by a schedule of calls and other commitments preventing the completion of tasks or the incubation of ideas. Sometimes we’re just more productive outside of office hours. Sometimes that extra time invested outside of the normal working day makes the demands of the working day more tolerable. Sometimes it means that my other life roles as Dad and husband can take priority when needed also.

Flexible tools

Depending on your job, it shouldn’t matter if you take an hour during the day for personal tasks when you spend an hour at night working productively. A few years ago, this wasn’t possible. Our devices were rigid and inflexible to personal tasks. Our personal equipment was equally limited in its ability to be productive. The digital boundaries capable with UEM have torn down those physical boundaries.

Flexible offices

A digital workspace is the digital half of realizing work-life balance. The whole anytime-anywhere vision also involves moving people out of real estate. We can move the work experience out of our data centers and offices, and use smaller offices for co-working spaces/work studios when that’s the most effective approach. In doing so, the office becomes an investment the company makes in enabling (not enforcing) productivity and collaboration.

Flexible attitudes

The building blocks of this new employment paradigm are coming to a workplace near you. The technical elements are ready NOW to start transforming how we see the work day and how we balance life with work. The hard part is changing entrenched attitudes held by leaders as well as some employees. Once leadership sees it working in the transformation already underway, their buy-in will be natural.

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About Mike Harm
Chief Technology Officer – Workplace and member of the Scientific Community
Mike Harm is the Chief Technology Officer for the Workplace domain at Atos and has spent over 20 years providing, designing, implementing and envisioning differentiated workplace services in partnership with clients worldwide. With a background that spans support services, process engineering, IT Service Management, systems engineering and innovation product management, he is passionately connected to the technological, behavioral, and procedural pulse of the user experience from end-to-end. He is a member of the Atos Scientific Community where he explores the impact of digitization on the human experience, the future of work, and new concepts of productivity and employment emerging from digital trends. In his role at Atos, he is responsible for technology partnerships, supplier strategic relationships, overall workplace vision and strategy as well as delivery technology policy in the workplace domain and adherence enforcement to those policies throughout service and product development lifecycle.

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