Print 27 comment(s) - last by Saesmere.. on Sep 21 at 8:02 AM

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 amanojaku on 9/16/2008 12:20:38 PM , Rating: 1
Why does the government need to rescue you from your employer? If you feel they are overburdening you, demand reasonable treatment or go find a job somewhere else.

I agree with your feeling; I've quit or resigned from jobs because I felt the working conditions were poor and would never improve. In some cases I was wrong, but my choices helped define my current self. Which is why I think I can say finding another job isn't always so easy. For one thing, jobs you are qualified for and can live off of have to EXIST. Even when they do government oversight can be a blessing. The government is sometimes necessary as businesses large and small begin to take advantage of employees if left uncontrolled. The idea that businesses will learn from their mistakes is silly since human beings run them. Which also means employees will try to take advantage of the employer. It's a fine balance to which everyone has to contribute.

How did I get a job like this? #1, I got an education, and I have skills which are difficult to find so employers tend not to take me for granted. And #2, I demanded it. I worked for employers who treated me like crap (even with my skills), and I left them.

Again, I agree with your feeling, but the reality is different. Not everyone has the courage or skill to negotiate, and that leads to problems down the road. All employees, no matter their worth on the food chain, deserve to work in a relaxed, positive and focused environment. It may not be possible to make this a company standard, but as an employee this can be achieved. Negotiate! This is the skill that has helped me achieve my current level of career success despite my lack of a college degree. At the age of 30 I perform duties with the equivalent responsibilities and compensation of people 10 and 15 years older.

What’s the difference between you and I? Your life is what others make it. My life is what I make it.

Once more, I agree with your feeling, but let reality set it for a moment. Some things you can't control, or control easily. In my travels I've come across cities and towns so poor that people can't afford to leave. It's a big event for someone to make it to the local city, and an achievement worthy of a parade to get to LA or New York. Location, after determination, is the number one factor to facilitating a person's career. You rarely heard of successful people outside of major cities because the opportunities did not exist prior to the Internet. It's still too new of a medium to eliminate the advantages of location, but someday...

RE: The Biggest problem...
By masher2 on 9/16/2008 1:19:18 PM , Rating: 1
> " All employees, no matter their worth on the food chain, deserve to work in a relaxed, positve, and focused environment"

Be sure to tell those in the military, police, firefighting, and emergency rescue professions they deserve a relaxed environment.

As for "positive" and "focused", those terms are a bit open to interpretation...but the only thing people "deserve" is what's written in the Constitution. Anything else is simply a matter of free choice. If you don't like the job offer, find another one.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein
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