Tag Archives: Blurring Of Boundaries

How To Fix Work-Life Balance for Constantly Connected Millennials – TIME

Younger generations of workers – so called ‘Millennials’ – are used to constantly using new communications technology to constant keep up-to-date with social media and personal email. This has also come to mean that monitoring work emails outside office hours has become routine – blurring the boundaries between work and personal life. A majority of 18-34 year old workers in one survey said that answering work email during dinner way OK, versus only 22% of workers age 55-64.

However, there are signs that younger workers are dissatisfied with the effects of a constant digital connection to their workplace on their work-life balance. This will have implications for employers as younger workers are the most active employee group in seeking better work-life balance; they are the most likely group to move jobs, relocate home or take a pay-cut for better balance and work flexibility.

To attract and retain the best talent, employers will need to better adapt to the demands of these workers who want work-life balance. Examples of how this is being done include shifting management focus from requiring attendance in the office, to looking at ways of allowing workers the flexibility to be work productively. Importantly, this means putting high-levels of trust in workers.

Read more at TIME.

Charities risk losing staff if they fail to promote wellbeing – The Guardian

Staff working for charities may be more susceptible to overwork and ill effects from poor work-life balance.

Those working for charities often feel they need to work harder because failure to do so lets down the beneficiaries of their charities. The passion many employees in this sector feel for their work can lead to the blurring of boundaries between work and personal commitment.

Read more on The Guardian.

Why do C-suiters like Patrick Pichette get to follow their bliss while his exhausted underlings trudge on? – Quartz

After CFO of Google announced he was to quit the technology giant for a better work-life balance, this article notes that ‘most people have to figure out how to manage their lives and connect with their families while working full-time hours or longer’.

Looking at the US case, it notes that just 12% of the workforce are entitled to paid leave, including being one of only two countries surveyed by the ILO to have no statutory paid maternity leave. Moreover, it points to accounts of Google’s working culture that note long hours are the norm – encouraged by on-site gyms, food and dry cleaning – and that it has negative effects on employees.

The article questions, then, whether work-life balance, in practice, is the preserve of a privileged few who can afford to leave jobs, and suggests that attention needs to be paid to making work-life balance more achievable for everybody.

Read more at Quartz.

Female company president: “I’m sorry to all the mothers I worked with” – Fortune

Katharine Zaleski reflects on how her own attitudes to childcare and women the workplace has altered since having a child.

While previously she had accepted cultural norms that suggest mother’s cannot be fully committed to work, her views have altered. Particular, she notes that news kinds of flexible working, particularly remote working, can help mothers remain engaged with work while also taking care of a child – and even become more productive as a result.

Interestingly she also notes that there may need to be limits on flexible working. She notes that expectations that people will be available for last minute meetings that run outside office hours, or for after-work drinks to network and discuss projects, are examples where flexibility negatively effects work-life balance and encourages the blurring of boundaries between these domains.

Read more at Fortune.

Switching on outside office risks relationships, psychologists find – The Telegraph

This article reports on a new meta-analysis of research covering 50,000 workers which found that  those who checked work email or took work calls after the office was shut were more likely to have problems with their health and private lives.

It goes on to note that while new technology was supposed to provide flexibility for workers, it actually encouraged them to be always ‘switched on’, blurring boundaries between work and life and causing work-family conflict.

The research authors note that:

“Researchers, employers and employees need to work jointly on how to make the use of technologies as beneficial as possible, reducing the negative effects. Otherwise, there is a danger of unintended knock-on effects.”

Read more at The Telegraph.

The Murky Boundaries of the Modern Work Day – National Journal

This article notes that for many Americans the distinction between work and personal life is blurred, and that working hours can extend well into the evening. However, around 62% of surveyed workers said replied that they work the right number of hours, while 28% said that they would, ideally, scale back.

The main complaint, the article suggests, was uncertainty about of day-to-day schedules and overall hours worked. This unpredictability makes achieving work-life balance more difficult.

Read more at National Journal.

‘Work and leisure used to be separate. Now it’s just 24/7 anxiety’ – The Guardian

This article notes that the increasing use of technology, and feelings of job insecurity following the recent recession, mean that people are always working — because they can and they fear becoming unemployed if they don’t.

While the article notes that this can induce a state of chronic anxiety, it also notes that many younger people like the blurring of boundaries between work and life.

Read more at The Guardian.

Why Millennials Should Get Used to Work-Life Imbalance – TIME

This article notes that ‘Millennials’ (those born from around the late 1980s) are used to a blurring of work and life. Whereas an 8 hour work day used to be standard, these young people often expect to be ‘always-on’, reachable by both work colleagues, and friends and family whatever time of day or night.

The author notes the advantages and disadvantages of this lifestyle – being able to fit work and personal life around each other, but never wholly having a separation between work and life. He then goes on to suggest that rather than trying to achieve work-life balance, people should instead attempt an integration of the two.

Read more at TIME.

Heejung Chung on BBC Radio Kent’s Julia George Show – 24 September 2014

On Wednesday 24th September, Heejung Chung appeared on Julia George’s BBC Radio Kent show to talk about work-life balance, work-family conflict, and how flexible working can mean work extends into all aspects of life.

Clip courtesy of BBC Radio Kent.

When Work Interferes with Life: Work-Nonwork Interference and the Influence of Work-Related Demands and Resources – Schieman et al.

The authors advance a “stress of higher status” hypothesis in relation to the distribution of work-family/work-life conflict. This hypothesis suggests that schedule control is usually for professionals and higher status workers who normally present a higher commitment to work, work longer hours, and blur boundaries allowing for easier permeability of work into non-work settings. Schedule control thus may have negative influence on work-family conflict. This hypothesis is supported by US data.

Schieman, Scott; Glavin, Paul; Melike, Melissa (2009) “When Work Interferes with Life: Work-Nonwork Interference and the Influence of Work-Related Demands and Resources” American Sociological Review, 74(6)

Available at: http://asr.sagepub.com/content/74/6/966.abstract