Working On The Go Isn't For Everyone
By Mike Masnick, Tue Apr 12 00:15:00 GMT 2005
While advances in mobile broadband technology are allowing people to make travel time more productive, many are admitting they preferred being able to take it easy while on the go.
For the early adopter, the idea of being connected all the time seems wonderful. It lets us be more productive in the "down time" that was formerly considered wasted. Time such as getting to and from work, or while waiting in line somewhere, suddenly become that much more useful. However, not everyone feels that way. In fact, more than half of those asked in a recent survey claim that they'd prefer not to work on the go, but preferred the down time as part of the time where their work/life balance was shifted firmly towards the "life" side of things. Rather than saving time by being more productivity, it seems people are saying that mobile work doesn't really save them any time -- it just adds to the amount of time they're working.
It's not that these people dislike mobile technologies. They have no problem working from home, and using mobile technologies within the home or office. It's just the added connectivity that forces them to turn private time into corporate time. This issue concerning work/life balance has been getting more attention lately, and it's one that companies should be thinking about. Companies that expect employees to blend their "private" time (even if it's on the commute) into work time, it's only fair (and perhaps quite smart) to also encourage employees to bring some of their personal chores into the office as well. Letting people do some personal stuff on work time lets them better organize their time, so that the situations in which they're expected to work while on the go don't seem so invasive -- but rather a fair tradeoff and more efficient scheduling of actual work.
Of course, much of this may be a cultural divide that will change over time. Increasingly, it appears that young people who grew up within the always-on technology world have no problem being connected all the time, any place, and won't think twice about turning "down time" into "productive time." Of course, they're also just as used to having their personal life encroach on their work/school life -- so employers need to be prepared for this increased blurring of the boundaries.