We’ve all heard it before: technology, specifically mobile tech, has changed when, and where, we are able to work. With this change have come expectations that we be available to work anytime, anywhere. This “flexibility” is supposed to be something that we seek out, and value. However, “work-life integration,” as it is called, is nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and we’d all be best served if we gave it, and it’s ideologies, the boot.
The first problematic aspect of work-life integration is that it preys on our collective, nasty habit to be constantly connected and consumed by technology. We are, as we all know, glued to our devices. So, why not answer a few e-mails at 9pm in between scrolling through Instagram & reading a few blogs? In reality, we don’t need more reasons to spend more time on technology. What we need are more reasons to be in the moment, and to enjoy our friends and family. Ya know, like we used to do for all of humanity’s history except for the last ten years? From developing crucial relationship building skills, learning how to deal with objections, or just having fun, time we spend actually immersing ourselves in the present with people will always be time well spent.
The second “benefit” that work-life integration operates under the guise of is that allows us flexibility, because at the end of the day “it’s all just life.” This is nothing more than a ruse to try to squeeze more out of us, and comes with consequences. There are countless benefits to not work 24/7. High risk of burnout, waning of ability to think creatively, and lack of a fulfilling life outside of work being chief among them. Sure, answer an urgent e-mail at night once in a while, or go above and beyond for your customers on the weekend sometimes, but to totally immerse yourself in work at all hours of the day, all the time, is dangerous and unhealthy.
The final piece of sheep’s clothing that this wolf of an ideology wears is that it carries the weight of inevitability; we’d better adapt, or we’ll be left behind. All the most productive people, we’re told, wake up at 4am and go to bed at 3am, and the one-hour in between is spent begrudgingly attempting to sleep. It’s important to remember that this behavior is extreme, and not necessarily tied to success. Yes, we value our work, but we also value spending time with family, being active, and finding ways to give back. Those things deserve our full attention.
At Buoy, we love creating workplaces where people actually like to go everyday. Our events and experiences are designed to bring people together at work, and form relationships and trust. But we also know that work is not always the most important thing, and that we’d all be better off if we put down the tablet in favor of a conversation. So get out there, find another human, and chat ’em up. You won’t regret it.