The forty hour work week and nine to five office hours may be dead – or at least dying. Technology now allows workers to not only work anywhere but at anytime as well. Flexible workplace policies are giving some workers more control over their schedules and ideally their lives. However it seems learning how to balance mobile work and flexible living is slow.
But incase you feel that working nine to five is still a thing, you may want to think again. A new CareerBuilder survey released last weekshows that 63 percent of workers believe “working nine to five” is an outdated concept. Working nine to five may not be dead, but she’s not what she used to be either.
This trend of working whenever and wherever is forcing workers to learn new skills in time management and has others yelling for better work-life balance. The CareerBuilder survey – conducted online by Harris Poll and of more than 1,000 full-time workers in information technology, financial services, sales, and professional and business services – reported that 20 percent of workers say work is the last thing they think about before they go to bed, and more than twice as many (42 percent) say it’s the first thing they think about when they wake up. Nearly 1 in 5 of workers (17 percent) say they have a tough time enjoying leisure activities because they are thinking about work.
As you can see many mobile workers are having difficulty compartmentalizing their lives and maintaining a work-life balance. It may have been easier to do so 20 years ago at the dawn of corporate email and the heyday of regular office hours. Today it takes real discipline to not only put the smartphone down but direct your thoughts away from work – well that is if you believe in work-life balance to begin with.
David Whyte writes in his book “The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship” that,
“The current understanding of work-life balance is too simplistic. People find it hard to balance work with family, family with self, because it might not be a question of balance. Some other dynamic is in play, something to do with a very human attempt at happiness that does not quantify different parts of life and then set them against one another. We are collectively exhausted because of our inability to hold competing parts of ourselves together in a more integrated way.”
Whyte’s criticisms of work-life balance are not his alone. Many are starting to push back with the idea that the real stress is trying to maintain a balance.
Andy Clark explains this type of thinking.
As the workforce spends more time living in a world of constant connectivity; mobile working; work-life balance issues and the constrains of social norms, we will hopefully begin get a better idea of how to manage the work-related stresses in our lives – or not and go on writing about them.