Blurring the line between home and work (and vice versa)

I just read a blog called “Online social networking: The productivity paradox” which discusses whether or not management should allow access to social networking sites like “Facebook” on work computers.

One commenter wrote that although people may be losing time in the short term by logging on to such tools at work, they often increase the quality in their work from collaborating with teammates.

Personally, I was glad I was able to log into Facebook last week because the instant messaging service my team uses to communicate wasn’t working; so my coworker and I were able to use FB’s chat function to discuss our project.

Yes, there may be issues with some workers who abuse social networking sites while at work. My theory is they would be spending time chatting around the water cooler anyway.

But what’s become more prevalent lately is the opposite side of that coin: where people at home have a hard time pulling themselves away from work.

I’ve read several articles recently about today’s workforce has a highly blurred line between work and home. They may check personal Gmail and and Facebook at work, but then often check their work email account while away from the office.

Ten years ago it seemed that only top executives checked emails through mobile devices (i.e., Blackberries). Now with the popularity of the iPhone and other smart phones, it’s becoming more common for workers at all levels of the organization to constantly be plugged in to each other. This is especially the case where coworkers are also within each other’s social networks in their personal lives.

For myself, I don’t have a smart phone; but I have my laptop on all the time when I’m at home and have a hard time resisting replying to emails in my in-box that only require a quick response. Note the irony that I’m posting this on a Sunday afternoon 😉

What about you? Let’s take a quick, one-question poll on which statement best describes you:

A) I am connected to work nearly all the time (through mobile devices, laptop, PC, etc.)

B) I am sometimes connected to work communications when at home

C) I am only connected to work communications at home when I have an important task I’m working

D) I keep my work life and home life completely separate I’d be curious what your responses are.

Post your comments if you’re willing to share. There are no right or wrong answers.


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