YEA, RIGHT -- HAVE IT ALL.
We work long hours, spend a ridiculous amount of time commuting, doing work stuff at home ( email on the Blackberry at the kidâs soccer game, checking voicemail on the way home from the grocery store), doing home and personal stuff at work (need to schedule time to see the dentist, find someone to fix the back porch screen, get the car serviced). And you need to find time to see your parents, who arenât doing so great.
ARE WE MODERN SLAVES?
It certainly feels like it. The United Nations' International Labor Organization (ILO) has the proof: "Workers in the United States are putting in more hours than anyone else in the industrialized world." And studies show that U.S. work hours are increasing.
If your laundry basket is as full as your "in" basket, you are not alone. The job keeps getting more demanding. Kids seem to have organized activities every day of the week â they need a full time limo-driver to get them to their activities.
It doesnât make sense given all of the advances in technology - itâs supposed to be getting easier, not harder, right?
EMERGING SOLUTIONS â 1) ON-SITE SUPPORT and 2) FLEXIBLE WORK OPTIONS
1) On-site support was started by the dot-com companies â a work concierge service to make it easy for employees to get dry cleaning done or groceries delivered and never leave their work cube. Some new on-site service concepts â on-site exercise coaches to teach employees how fit exercise into their busy week â key for health and healthcare costs. See www.beproactive.com. Or stress management workshops to teach employees how to manage stress productively, effectively and become more productive at work and healthier at the same time. See www.beproactive.com and www.heartmath.com. There are even companies putting physician offices at the workplace so you don't have to take lots of time to do your check up or deal with that sore throat â www.wholehealthnet.com.
2) Flexible work options. Technology can be part of the solution. There are some great ways to enable people to work remotely. See www.edbrill.com. Companies that want to be seen as "employers of choice" know that they need to be more flexible and supportive of employees' lives outside the office than many were a decade ago. Particularly true for the younger set. A study by the Families and Work Institute showed 85% of employees under 30 wanted more flexibility in their work schedules.
Flexible does not mean reduced work quality or commitment. People want better work-life balance â they want to work differently; they are not asking to take their hand off the career lever. They are willing and able to use technology and can be productive from almost anywhere. Go to http://www.forbes.com/2007/03/19/work-life-balance-lead-careers-worklife07-cx_db_mn_0319worklife_land.html for an interesting article about how to get your company to think about flex time (just click to skip the âwelcome screenâ).
Flexible Work Caution: Itâs not all roses. Flexible working with its 24/7 access to company email and information via cell phones and BlackBerries could simply translate into round the clock working for some employees, a new report has warned.