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Technology is helping companies further blur the lines between work and life

These days, the proliferation of various technological advances are worsening a problem in the corporate world -- lengthening work hours. IT teams are no stranger to being on call 24/7/365.  Since the platforms they support are expected to be online all the time, they must be prepared to respond in the event of a crisis. But more and more this is being passed on to the other departments in most corporations. Employees all across the company are being expected to be on call, available, or even work regularly after normal scheduled business hours usually without any compensation whatsoever.

Recently laptops are replacing desktops as the standard computer in most organizations. Laptops provide employees with the ability to work from home as well as in the office. This is generally a great thing if you want to telecommute but it comes with a catch. After 5pm when you go home, your boss might still email you or assign you a task that needs to be completed knowing that you can do it from home just as well as you could at work.

The proliferation of Blackberries and other devices are also helping the problem spiral out of control. The days of being able to take a vacation and get away from work, are coming to an end for many. Even while on vacation you are expected to check your email and answer that Blackberry should it ring. Failure to do so could result in penalties when you return to the office.

In the last few years, though a new device has been marketed which provides the ability to get internet anywhere. These air cards as they call them are add-on cards that connect to existing laptops or can be integrated directly into newer model laptops. This always-on internet is providing employees with the ability to connect into the office and work while on the road.

For those that travel often, this is certainly a nice thing, it causes problems when managers start requiring people with air card access to be on and working, outside regular business hours. Air cards are being issued to many in management, and anyone else companies want to be able to work at a moments notice from any location. The caveat is that the employee must keep both their laptop and air card on them at all times.

To top it off, many businesses are promoting their commitment to work life balance but the 40 hour work week has turned into a 60 hour work week and thats at a minimum. With companies constantly pushing to do more work with fewer employees, many employees are having to work after normal work hours to meet deadlines. Many do not receive Overtime Pay since they are not hourly employees. Many are still eligible as they are listed as "non-exempt" meaning under the current set of laws they should be compensated for overtime regardless. This is further complicated by the debate between what is and isn't classified as work.

This problem is only expected to get worse as companies look for new ways to squeeze more work out of employees in an increasingly competitive market.


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RE: The Biggest problem...
By Radnor on 9/16/2008 11:33:48 AM , Rating: 2
You missed part of my post. I work 39 Hours per week atm. This employer gives decent formation, and cares quite a bit.

There are several employers as you mentioned it, and we do pick it. I have a superior degree as well, and i usually tend to pick my jobs. The thing is, few companies adopt the logic or managing like the one i am now. As you said in your post, you are now for 9 years. I left my old "job" in 10 months. The average worker there didn't last for more than two years.

The government doesn't need to save me from my job, i work in IT it is fairly safe. But many other different business needs to be inspected by the government. You would be surprised by the lack of safety in most companies. And im European, where safety laws are quite strict.

Ive it wasn't for the government, unions, and, as you said very well, the level of education of the workers, we would still be in Industrial Revolution times.

Like we see in China. Were they never get late to work, they live in their work. Does that sound like balanced to you ?


RE: The Biggest problem...
By arazok on 9/16/2008 11:52:02 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Like we see in China. Were they never get late to work, they live in their work. Does that sound like balanced to you ?


From the perspective of someone who works 9-5 and owns a car and a house, no.

From the perspective of someone who toils in a field somewhere for 16 hours a day just to feed themselves, it’s a major improvement.

Everything is relative. China is building the foundation’s of an industrial society. As more people move to the factories, they will demand better wages and treatment. Eventually, they will enjoy working conditions similar to what we have here. The rules of supply and demand dictate that as China exhausts it’s supply of labor, labor will demand, and get, better treatment…. with or without government and unions.


RE: The Biggest problem...
By Radnor on 9/16/2008 11:58:37 AM , Rating: 1
I see ithere is a problem there in the US with government unions. Well, in Europe there aren't usually such things as big unions become, in the long run, money sucking associations. But yes, what we see in china is what we saw in Europe about 200-150 years ago.

Again lets wait and see.


RE: The Biggest problem...
By masher2 (blog) on 9/16/2008 1:15:46 PM , Rating: 5
> "But yes, what we see in china is what we saw in Europe about 200-150 years ago"

It's the natural progression, part of the transition from an agrarian to an industrial society. It wasn't the government that improved working conditions-- it was rising productivity and competition for workers. The first standardized 8-hour workday and the first perks like employer-supplied health insurance didn't come from government mandates... they arose from companies attempting to win and hold scarce skilled workers.


"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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