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BlackBerry nation

“My wife-to-be made some rather dramatic suggestions about the impact of technology on this finance director’s life. If only the concussion weren’t so bad, I could have elaborated here.” So writes interim FD and consultant Christopher Argent on Financial Director’s ever-growing LinkedIn group. “I knew I was in trouble when I took my BlackBerry to bed.”

Argent was responding to a discussion started by Exelco chief financial officer Fazal Chaudhri on whether technology makes the FD’s life better or worse. The responses were divided: some thought their BlackBerry gave them time to spend with the kids, while others lamented being chained to their mobile phone. “Technology has destroyed the tranquility needed to think effectively. Compare crossing the Atlantic by liner and jumbo jet,” says Nigel Collin, company secretary at Tennants Consolidated. “We need to switch off mobiles and ponder a bit more.”

Those who believe it has helped cited a better work-life balance – if they could only find the discipline not to sit scrolling through emails on the BlackBerry when they should be cheering their kids on at sports day. “I can work from home, take my kids to school and take a call 2,000km up a mountain while skiing,” says Michael Sutton, director of Microteam. “It has changed the FD’s role from that of beancounter to that of decision adviser.”

“Used poorly, it can destroy the work-life balance – the personal discipline to switch off, do what’s important – kids and family – have relationships, live and laugh,” says Paul Redwood, managing director of Redwood Learning. “There is also the age-old problem of work-life balance for highly successful people. We invariably have to work hard to get where we are, and IT facilitates the ability to work hard 24/7 nicely.”

“Switching off is a skill some FDs struggle with, desperately searching for emails as soon as the plane touches down. No laptops at home, no calls in the evening and weekends. You should try these,” Roberto Lucherini, an interim integration advisor, told the group. “Nothing changes back at the office in the meantime.”

Join the LinkedIn group here

 

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