Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Email or Nap? Self-Driving Cars and the Future of Work-Life Balance

Generally on business-related tweet chats, while you may run across some interesting ideas or surprising insights, one doesn’t expect to see a lot of actual debate. During a recent #SocBizChat the subject of the future of work-life balance came up and led to some interesting comments—all the more so because there were divergent opinions on the topic. In particular, people had varying views on whether advances such as self-driving cars will lead to better or worse work-life balance.

Social, data and other technologies will continue to make us more efficient, freeing up time we’d otherwise spend searching for information, tracking down expertise, sharing files, you name it. Collaborative and mobile technologies allow us to work from virtually anywhere, while self-driving cars promise to turn our commutes into …

image Into what? What will we do with all of this extra time and this ability to stay connected 24/7? Will we work longer hours as we find ourselves unable to disconnect, or will we have the discipline to stick to a roughly 40-hour work week, even if we’re not necessarily working nine hours in a row with an hour lunch break every day? Will we use our commutes in self-driving cars as opportunities to nap, or to extend our workday?

My hope is that the choice will come down to the individual. A company that has an attractive culture, one that values work-life balance and won’t expect employees to spend their commute connected and active, will enjoy great retention as well as the benefits of employees as brand advocates. A company with a more always-connected, always-working culture, on the other hand, or even managers with this mindset at an otherwise enlightened company, will view the “free” time bought by new technology belongs to the company. It’s no stretch to assume they will suffer from low employee morale. Unfortunately, not every employee has the luxury of leaving a company that expects immediate responses and action even “after hours.”

Employees at the second type of company will feel obligated to work during their self-driving car (or hyperloop!) commute and most will feel miserable and resentful about it. Some employees at the first type of company will spend their commute sleeping, some will spend it reading, others will choose to work, but it will be there choice, and all will be happy and fulfilled, at the very least during that period of time that technology has given back to them.

from Social Business Insights Blog http://ift.tt/16N0As6


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