Found this article in BusinessWeek and realized I had stuff to say about it!
“They yearned for a path to success based on results, not hours clocked.” This resonates with me because I have felt the pressure to stay online until the boss logs off, regardless of whether or not there was any work that was pressing enough to dig into MY time. And yes, at my rung on the ladder, overtime is MY time, which I generously donate to the Firm on occasion. How much and how often can be the result of a trickle-down effect. If the boss is doing it, the worker feels some obligation to do it, too. If the boss talks about having a life and leaves early sometimes to attend a school function, the workers will feel comfortable doing that too.
All of you who are The Boss, remember this – you are leading by example! If you want your staff to be well-rounded and able to perform at peak, you must model the right behavior, the behavior that says it’s not only OK to have a non-work life, it’s mandatory.
burnout and the “enormous lattitude to move sideways, backward, in and out” – I might be one of the few downshifting success stories at the Firm. Normally, one would have to change firms if they wanted to downshift, but I was fortunate enough to have management that recognized burnout didn’t mean I wasn’t any good to them any more. It meant I needed to not work so much any more, to put some perspective back into my life, to have the luxury of down time.
“So rather than try and get them to conform to rules and guidelines from the 1950s, we should listen to them, and let them lead the way for what this future will look like.” – I don’t see this happening in the current environment. Jobs are not plentiful. It’s not like the worker has another place to go, at least not easily or readily. The worker will have to conform to the mores of the workplace, whatever decade those mores are from, or they will be fired and replaced with one of the thousands poised to step over the bodies and take their places. In a less competitive environment, the workplace might very well need to conform, but as things stand, I think the workplace will continue to be “my way or the highway”.
additional expectations of the single rider – Yes, it happens. We, the single and childless of either gender, are often expected to pick up the slack. I’ve actually been told, “Well, it’s not like you have to pick up the kids or anything like that” – as if that’s any more legitimate than my own non-work priorities and obligations.
backlash against telecommuting – currently happening in my firm, and the reason I won’t be transferring back into the technology group any time soon (I’m currently in corporate finance). Apparently, there was a moonlighting incident. So now, in the tech org, all of the “outlyers” (yes they actually call us telecommuters that!) are slowly being brought back into the offices. This incurs cost – real estate, phone lines, LAN connections all cost money.
Honestly, I view the moonlighting thing as a management problem, not a telecommuting problem. How could you not know that your people aren’t on the job? How can you not know that they are not producing the way they should be producing? Still, management has become allergic to telecommuting, and removing this as an option is going to throw people back into imbalance between work and home life. When I started telecommuting full time in 2005, I was able to reclaim four hours of my life a day. FOUR HOURS. A DAY. Incredible, isn’t it? I cannot imagine going back to that old life. Ever.