FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Do We Really Want to be "Always Connected"?

Now that being tethered to the workplace via cell phone, Blackberry and Internet has evolved from an option to an expectation, a majority of those who responded to a Silicon.com reader poll said that they prefer not to be working while "always on the move."

Though the survey was unscientific, it may indicate the beginning of a backlash against the "always connected" workplace, and a desire for workers to reclaim a degree of work-life balance. While some would welcome the return to the days when the workday ended promptly at 5:00 PM, a more likely outcome is the blurring of the boundaries between work and personal life. Just as today's knowledge workers don't toil in factories, they no longer need to be bound by factory-like rules. If employers expect workers to take calls and answer e-mail in the evenings, they shouldn't object to workers taking care of personal chores during the day.

Indeed, greater management of one's schedule seemed to be a theme in the Silicon.com poll. The majority of respondents said that they would prefer to work from home, which on the surface seems to fly in the face of their desire to unplug. But it more likely suggests that what workers really want is autonomy and control.

Sources: Silicon.com, TheFeature