It’s Sunday morning. I’m having a cup of coffee, listening to music on the radio and writing a blog about technology and its impact on our lives – which will be published by my employer. Am I working right now?
You’re reading this blog, learning about my perspective on work. Will this activity benefit you personally or professionally? What time of day is it – the classic 9 to 5 or outside of that? Are you working right now?
As technology becomes more available in our lives the definition of “work” continues to evolve. As I’ve written about many times before, I’m a huge advocate of “Smarter Working,” where work is what you do not where you go. Remote tools that can be accessed from PCs, tablets and smart phones allow us to be productive from wherever we happen to be. While this has been a tremendous benefit to both employers and employees, one downside is that the definition of when one is working has blurred quite a bit – causing a major conundrum. Just because you can read and respond to a work email from wherever you are – should you?
This situation is creating a significant culture clash in some regions. A law was passed in France limiting the “digital work week” to 35 hours, requiring that employees ignore emails and calls from work unless they occur between 9am and 5pm. Germany has enacted similar guidelines. These actions are meant to address the fear that employees constantly exposed to work will burn-out or will be pressured to work more hours than they are compensated for.