A new law has been enacted in Ontario that forces many companies to adapt policies to ensure employees disconnect from work after hours.
Balancing work with home life and family time is a complex lifestyle formula that psychologist Dayna Lee-Baggley said involves a high level of irony.
“Technology was supposed to free up our lives and make life easier,” said Lee-Baggley. “It has resulted in us being connected all the time.”
Dan Shaw from the Dalhousie Rowe School of Business said governments are free to enact laws to promote work-life balance.
Ultimately it will come down to the actions of employers and the employees.
“The companies have to have no phone evenings,” said Shaw. “Set aside maybe Tuesdays and Thursdays when you don’t have to check your phone. Or just check your phone once.”
According to Nova Scotia Teachers Union President Paul Wozney, teachers struggle every day when it comes to disengaging from work.
“I know a lot of teachers who spend every day all day Sunday from early morning until past supper” said Wozney. “Some teachers get to school two hours early when there is nobody in the building.”
Lee-Baggley believes a true commitment to work life balance hinges on people taking full advantage of the non-work time, made available to them.
“Filling that time, not just with binge watching something or distraction activities, but filling it with things that are meaningful and purposeful,” said Lee-Baggley, who added work can also be a healthy and emotionally recharging activity. “Work is a meaningful thing that gives people socialization, structure and purpose.”
Lee-Baggley said people can put effort into their work and feel rewarded doing so, but striking a balance is crucial.