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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 Master Kenobi on 9/17/2008 7:37:47 AM , Rating: 1
I would point out that the problems currently in the U.S. are going to happen in most of the overseas markets in a few more years. Enjoy it when your economy drops like a rock.

RE: The Biggest problem...
By Felofasofa on 9/17/2008 7:06:44 PM , Rating: 2
Enjoy it when your economy drops like a rock.

You'd like to think that, but although we are not immune to the credit contagion in the US, we actually have a housing shortage in Australia, keeping asset values up. Our mortgage market is far more regulated than yours, so we don't have any where near the level of bad loans you have. We also don't have the level of personal debt Americans have. None of our Banks are likely to fail as all are more than adequately capitalised, inflation is low and interest rates are heading down, not up. We are also underwritten by our massive resources, which China still has a massive appetite for. While wealth is not increasing due to asset inflation, we are well positioned to ride out the storm as we did with the Asian financial crisis. Sorry we're not going to tank like you guys.

RE: The Biggest problem...
By Master Kenobi on 9/18/2008 10:04:51 AM , Rating: 2
The vast majority of the U.S. financials are adequately capitalized as well. The U.S. economy despite the wallstreet woes, is still showing positive growth rate, so no recession. Overall its simply the stretch coming back to its regular tension levels rather than being overstretched like it was in years previous.

RE: The Biggest problem...
By Felofasofa on 9/18/2008 11:57:09 AM , Rating: 2
By stretch I assume you mean asset values, which were way over valued and caused these problems. This is good, painful for the people who made the biggest gains, but we all feel very sorry for them. Fee leechers, they should be made to give them back. Another thing going for Aussie, is that our economy is so much smaller, worth around 800 billion, possibly around the size of California's or smaller, making management an easier task.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
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