The United States is one of the worst countries for a work-life balance, reveals a recent report from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. In IT, finding this elusive balance can be even more challenging with the constant call of technology and various mobile devices — but it is possible with the right employer and position.
If you’re searching for a new IT job, here are some specifications to look for to find more balance between your work and personal life.
Flexible jobs are becoming more common in IT. According to a report from Gensler, employees who are given a choice to work from home are more focused, outperform their peers who do not have this choice and are more satisfied with their jobs and their workplace. What’s more, 53% of health IT professionals report flexibility as a top factor of job satisfaction.
Flexible options range from part-time telecommuting, full-time telecommuting, flexible start times and more. The key is finding an option that fits your lifestyle and will actually offer more balance between work and personal time.
Before choosing a flexible option, evaluate your working habits and needs. Working from home can actually cause you to spend more time working. If you think you’ll have a difficult time disconnecting and separating work and home life, a traditional office environment may offer better balance for you.
Whether you choose a flexible option or not, employers who offer flexibility may be more likely to respect your time and understand the importance of work-life balance.
Achieving work-life balance will be nearly impossible if you’re not supported by a solid team. Teams that don’t work together don’t get much accomplished, and you don’t want to be the one staying late at the office to pick up the slack.
Among workers surveyed by Cornerstone OnDemand, 38% say there isn’t enough team collaboration at work, and 72% prefer face-to-face collaboration. In addition, the Gensler survey found employees are more effective and satisfied when they work in environments that allow them to focus on their work individually and collaborate with peers.
Team dynamics are difficult to judge from the outside, but asking questions about the balance between individual work and teamwork during the interview process can give you insight. Ask how tasks are divided among the team and how team members interact with one another. In an interview, take stock of the environment. Is the office alive with the buzz of communicating team members, or is everyone focused on their own computer?
Although it may sound counterintuitive, looking for an IT employer who doesn’t emphasize always being available on different mobile devices may help you find a better work-life balance. In the Cornerstone OnDemand survey, 38% of millennials report feeling “technology overload.” While working with technology is a central part of any IT job, allowing it to bleed into your personal time can be unhealthy.
The convenience of mobile devices can lead to constant email checking, late-night programming and reviewing projects at any time in any place. Using multiple devices can not only lead to overworking habits, but can also create the expectation from your employer that you are always available outside of normal working hours. You should be passionate and dedicated to working hard at your job, but you still need and deserve a break.
In an interview, ask how many personal devices employees typically use on the go and out of the office. Fewer devices will most likely mean better balance.
If you do meet any team members or those in similar positions during the interview, don’t be afraid to ask them about the work-life balance of the job. If you’re uncomfortable discussing balance in front of your potential boss, connect with them on LinkedIn.
Send a message with a few questions about job satisfaction, pros and cons of the job and work-life balance. The contact may or may not reply, but their responses can be invaluable when evaluating the position. Inside information will give you a more accurate picture of the position and employer.
How do you manage work-life balance in an IT position? Let us know in the comments.
The Mashable Job Board connects job seekers across the U.S. with unique career opportunities in the digital space. While we publish a wide range of job listings, we have selected a few job opportunities from the past several weeks to help get you started. Happy hunting!