Staying Connected: Juano and Danial Speak Up About Technology, BlackBerry, and Work-Life Balance
By: Jessie Ho
Technology has often been praised for its ability to connect people on a wide array of levels—physical distances no longer pose a huge problem to communication while technology also fosters increased connections on a social level.
AIESEC, as an organization dedicated to providing leadership development experiences via exchange, is by its nature focused on staying connected and collaborating with multiple stakeholders—businesses and students alike. As a result, the national team of AIESEC Canada understands the potential of technology to forge connections, and uses it to keep up in all aspects of life, work and personal alike.
For the team, one of the most useful tools at their disposal are their BlackBerry smartphones. Juano Ruano, National VP of Organizational Development, and Danial Mazhar Shafi, National VP of Incoming Exchange, speak up on how technology and BlackBerry has impacted their lives and productivity in their experience on AIESEC Canada’s team.
How often do you find yourself using BlackBerry to connect with family and friends?
Juano: I just started using BlackBerry a few months ago and it has kept me connected with my loved ones. Nowadays, everything happens so fast that there is very little time to sit down and write out an email to update my family, so by having a BlackBerry, it becomes much easier for me to keep them updated through social media!
Danial: Everyday! My phone lets me access my loved ones on many different platforms. The Hub allows me to prioritize the messages that need immediate responses (e.g. my mom!).
How far are you from your family “back home” or friends abroad?
Juano: My whole family lives in Mexico so right now we have to keep ourselves updated only through technology. Now it is more common for young people to travel or relocate abroad—that’s why a significant number of my friends now live in places like Hungary, Chile, China and Rwanda. I think that without my phone it would be really hard to stay in touch. Sometimes we even make fun of the fact that we are all across six different time zones!
Danial: “Back home” is Montreal for me, which isn’t too far. However, AIESEC has expanded my “home” network to be more global. I use my phone to communicate almost daily with friends from over 20 countries with our various social media groups.
How many hours on average do you spend working a day?
Juano: I usually start my day at 10am and usually wrap up around 7pm. Now it’s very easy to know how heavy my day will look like since I have my email and calendar synced to my phone. If I know that a lot of things are coming I may come to the office earlier.
Danial: Depends on the day and week as our workdays can become quite hectic with our conferences. I would say 10 hours on average.
How many hours on average are you “connected” via your phone—to work-related things or your personal life?
Juano: I have to admit that I am always on my phone. I think that in regards to work-related things, I spend between one and two hours a day, since mostly I check my calendar and emergency items on my phone. I think I spend around three hours a day connecting with my friends and family through different social media apps and taking pictures! I love to document the new things that I am experiencing in Canada and share them with my family and friends back home.
Danial: 2-3 hours a day on work-related things, and 1-2 hours a day on non-work related things.
Do you have any comments about work-life balance?
Juano: I think that technology has helped me a lot with organizing my time. Since I have my agenda synced with other devices and apps, it’s very easy to keep track of my responsibilities and meetings. I think that my phone has succeeded in integrating both my work life and social life in just one device. I am always in favour of having a well balanced life style.
Danial: My BlackBerry is an integral part of my schedule as I usually begin and end my day with it. Even if I quantify the hours I’ve used it, the impact of my phone is most definitely more productivity. It serves as my alarm clock, my calendar, my connection to everything I need. The Hub is phenomenal in allowing me to put everything in one place and prioritizing as I choose to. Definitely helpful with my work-life integration.