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Has Technology Made the Work Day Longer?

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workshifting-in-bed.jpgI have come across quite a few blog posts where the first paragraph is a general complaint about the hours we work; where we are the victim and technology is the weapon. To that I say, ignorance is bliss.  From my perspective, we CHOOSE to work beyond the confines of traditional work hours because we can.  We can, because we have the tools, not vice-versa.

It seems that just about everyday a new tool comes out that offers to pull the fabric of our self-made social web even tighter.  Some new tools on the block are Foursquare and Plancast.  Neither of which improve the quality of my network, but they are cool and fun, and I choose to try them out.  Now add these to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or whatever your social media weapon of choice, and there is some serious time spent in the name of connecting.

I am connected to the social web via TweetDeck.  I’m watching and participating in the conversations that I care about.  Does it add to my workload?  Definitely.  Do I like it?  No Doubt.  Is there value to my company?  Absolutely.  I think the debate stems from how “work-day” is being defined.

The view seems to be that of the old-school corporate time clock vs. workshifting.  One is focused on time and the other on outcome.  One is focused on the office and the other is location agnostic.

Therefore, if I’m focused on outcome and I’m location agnostic, does that equal a longer work-day?  No, it’s equals a work-day that may include Monday morning at 4am or Sunday at 9pm.  It also may NOT include Tuesday at 9:30am and Friday at noon.  By re-framing perceptions of working hours and work space, you can quickly see that in most cases there are not more working hours, but the hours worked are more effective.  This also requires setting boundaries for when you’re “on deck”.  In other words, don’t call me at home at 4am unless I’m expecting it.

By extending the definition of work-day to include workshifting, it opens up a world of possibilities on how to achieve an objective.  I can collaborate with social media tools, attend a conference or speaking engagement, have an online meeting and of course (at least in my case) go to the office for a dose of much needed corporate culture.  Despite how this post may read, I love going into the office because I need to connect in person.

So next time you read about how the evil social media tools are driving people to work 24 hours a day, stop and think.  The definition of work-day is growing up.  Are you growing along with it, or are you fighting for the status quo.

What say you?

Photo Credit: tranchis

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