Do we need to work factory hours?

I don’t think so.  Perhaps this attitude stems from the fact that both my mom and my in-laws are from farm families — the idea of 8 to 5 doesn’t apply to my County Kerry or Haskell County kin.  A couple of provocative articles on the Harvard Business site explore the blurring between work and life (Do We Need Weekends? is here, Don’t Leave Your Personal Life at Home is here).

Connectivity is a bug-bear for many.  In particular, a lot of colleagues ask me about whether I like my Blackberry (I do).  The most common objection I then hear is that I’ve tethered myself to the office.  To which I say: “Do you prefer being chained to your desk”?  The ability to time shift is precious to me, well worth the cost of having to shift calls or business into “non-working” hours.

Also, I do not subscribe to the idea that the potential to be “always on” equals being “always on.”  There are of course the “ringer off” and caller ID features.  And every e-mail does not need an immediate response.  A lot of the complaints about the Crackberry would be solved by a quick Franklin-Covey time management course.  Or, heaven forbid, we might realize that every mail we’re copied on doesn’t need our contribution to the thread.

Finally, while I’m not customer-facing today, that was when I especially loved having a tether rather than a chain.  I recall one upgrade weekend where I had to be on-site, but I was able to have my wife join me for the weekend.  In the “good old days” pre-mobile or Blackberry, I would have had to stay on site on in my hotel almost the entire time.  No dinner and a movie, no personal time, etc.

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