Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Moving to a 20 Hour Work Week? Really!

I was reading this Workforce Magazine online Quick Take on the purported demise of the 40 hour workweek and it got me thinking. As a long-time business owner, I often work more than 40 hours a week to get all of the customer, administration, marketing, service development and other tasks taken care of.

Now, before the "work-life balance" wonks get themselves into a lather, it's about choice and what works rather than rigidly adhering to a system that doesn't. I do my best, creative thinking late at night and love to crash (side-by-side, laptops at the ready) with Garland in front of the TV to watch The Daily Show and the Colbert Report (and yes, we have actually IM'ed each other during the show--so we don't talk over Jon or Stephen...and stop snickering...you've got your own brand of weirdness, I'll wager).

I remember my HR days when we adopted a new performance management criterion. Work-life balance was a new criterion and no one (and I do mean no one) knew what it meant. Managers were a little timid about staying late (they did anyway) and professionals were concerned that if their balance was off (according to whom?) they might not be eligible for promotion.

Like I said: it's about what works.

Research agency Gartner Inc. cites the proliferation of digital communication and collaboration tools in the rise of "digital free agency" and say that by 2015, traditional work schedules will have gone the way of the albatross. Retirees, working parents, workers with aging parents and GenXers are increasingly unwilling to work a rigid workweek that requires them to build personal priorities around work.

Work has to work for the worker.