Magazine article Communication World

A Blur of Work Bites and Life Bites - New Corporate Strategy?

Magazine article Communication World

A Blur of Work Bites and Life Bites - New Corporate Strategy?

Article excerpt

For many of us, it's a blur. Our work lives and our personal lives are hardly distinguishable as work pressures permeate our personal space and personal life pressures invade our work place.

Since there's no end in sight - as the hollowing out of the corporate world continues with a passion - why not make blurring a corporate strategy? If the new social contract is telling us we're fully accountable for our career planning, our financial planning, our performance, our competencies and our ability to survive, why shouldn't we also be fully accountable for our time - deciding when we're most productive doing work and when we're most productive attending to our personal lives?

Sounds like a course in work/personal life time management, you say? Perhaps. But there's a big difference between the textbook time management course you took and the real time management that's self-learned in today's world. Because electronic communication technology now lets us manage our time - and our performance - in minutes, seconds and milliseconds. Speed, speed and speed in overdrive. That's the essence of success in a market place driven by just-in-time everything. Just-in-time performance is now in the hands of the individual as laptops, faxes, cell phones and Web sites become our sacred productivity tools and make managers obsolete.

Okay. Maybe we're ready to get sucked into this 24-hour-a-day blur, using our just-in-time tools to cross over from work life to personal life and back again at R.E.M. speed - a blur of work bites and life bites creating our corporate salad.

But is your work place designed to support this new productivity model? Even though it's not yet a formal strategy for most organizations, pockets of just-in-time productivity designs are already in place. In some companies they call it family friendliness. In others it's a great-place-to-work design that's meant to rally the survivors of downsizing. In still others it's the latest programs put in place to convince the twenty-something crowd that corporate careers might still make sense despite well-deserved skepticism.

Let's look at what's already in place:

Jessica calls the front desk to speak to her personal concierge, Bill. She needs Bill to stand in line for her at the IRS for a special tax form. A national provider of personal concierge services promises one corporate client six-figure savings - the cost of employee time otherwise spent fretting about daily personal chores.

Jennifer drops off her mildly sick three-year-old at an on-site clinic, then stops by every few hours to give her daughter some tender, loving care. …

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