Work life balance research

Several weeks ago I wrote about the blur between work and life. Now comes news from research by Hyatt. “Balancing personal and professional responsibilities is becoming a losing battle, according to a recent Hyatt Place® study in which 71 percent of
respondents agreed that they find it a constant challenge to balance their work and professional life – up from 39 percent in 2006. The vanishing divide between work and home was further reinforced by 83 percent of
respondents stating that they often take care of work matters from home and 59 percent stating that they often handle personal matters at work. This evolving paradigm indicates the goal
should no longer be to achieve balance, but to master a flexible lifestyle, seamlessly shifting between personal and professional responsibilities.
The widespread reach of this “flexstyle” was shown with 62 percent of respondents saying that
they are ‘constantly multitasking.’ Furthermore, when working from home, respondents are doing an average of five tasks simultaneously, the most common of which are handling work
e-mails while watching television.”
OK – hands up if any of this applies to you. It certainly does to me. And I think more and more it will apply to all of us. Why?
Global Virtual Teams – if you’re working on any project with people from another country or time zone, you may find yourself doing work from home in order to have productive meetings and not inconvenience them.
Work harder – We’re all working more hours and working harder than ever. That means that something has to give, and what gives is some of your time.
Social media – When you post something on social media and it goes out, you never know who’s going to be reading it and when, and when they will contact you.
Mobile devices – how many of you have an iphone, blackberry or similar device? Don’t tell me you turn them off at 5 or 6 o’clock! We’re now receiving (and if we choose, responding to) messages 18/7, if not 24/7.

In a sense, technology and society has turned us into “Robo-communicators” able to access and respond at any moment. And as that blurs, so do some of our home needs that get pushed into the workday.

What do you think – is this healthy? Is this a good development? In some ways, we can get answers faster than ever. I have a faculty in London responding in real time to messages. I hear from Brazil from the chair of a committee I am on at any time. It’s up to each of us to begin to decide what, if any, boundaries we have, and how we can make this accessibility and blurring of work and life be successful for us. Do tell us what you’ve done to make it successful.


About hprager

Father, husband, brother and son. Delighted to be friends and mentor to so many wonderful people. Passionate about: leadership, learning and development, education, nature and the environment, youth, music, jazz, the tuba, Israeli dancing, networking and helping others, humor, laughter, swimming, hiking, the Cubs, Northwestern athletics, theater, musicals, concerts, traveling and making new friends wherever I go. Helping the world be a better place when I leave it.
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1 Response to Work life balance research

  1. Paul Safyan says:

    I wonder how we got to the point where constant and instant communication became so important. I have the same problems separating from work as most people. However, I do turn off devices that are likely to disturb my “life” at times when I want to have life. Most things don’t need to be resolved RIGHT NOW, can be handled in the normal course of things. I also find many of the answers I give RIGHT NOW are not well-informed. Both written and especially voice in real time is often necessary to make a good decision.

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