784 ‘balansguiden’ – a self-assessment e-tool for work-life balance

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Abstract

Introduction

Borderless work is an increasing phenomenon in modern work-life, where many employees have constant access to e-mail and other means to work from anywhere at any time. In many ways, it creates a freedom of action but also a risk of health. Many companies are now addressing this issue by introducing e-mail policies and such, however many employees are still risking their health by not disconnecting from the job and finding the balance between work-life and personal life. ‘Balansguiden’ is the outcome of a request from Swedish companies and unions to offer an easy-to-use, cost-free self-assessment tool available to the Swedish workforce.

Methods

The e-tool is foremost to be used as a means to raise awareness within the individuals themselves. The user can choose from five topics, e.g. ‘you can work wherever you like’ or ‘everyone trusts you’. Each topic starts with a short film clip, describing it with statements and situations. Further reflection is supported by follow-up questions, facts and finally the possibility to create an action plan in order to encourage change. The e-tool also encompasses support for managers to handle risks regarding borderless work on a group level. It is based around the same five topics and offers the possibilities to make group assessments as well as follow up over time presented by graphic visualisations. It also provides a fact-based foundation for group discussion on the topics.

Results

The e-tool was first available for individual use in 2016 and completed with the group functionality in 2017. The response has been positive from Swedish users, with over 18 000 unique site visits since the first release.

Discussion

Scientific evaluation of the usefulness and effectiveness of the e-tool would make a valuable contribution and enable further conclusions about the method as such.

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