by Curt Finch

The Personal/Professional Blur

Apr 19, 20123 mins
Consumer ElectronicsIT LeadershipMobile

Recently I discussed how some IT departments are unsure how to view the integration of personal devices, social media usage, and third-party applications in the workplace. Some companies view these things as time wasters, believing (often correctly) that they increase the time employees spend on personal interactions in the office. What they may not realize is that it’s a two-way street.

According to a recent study conducted by Forbes Insights and Gyro of 543 executives, 98% of respondents say they check and send work email from home. Additionally, 63% say they check work email every one or two hours from home.  Some will view this information negatively and allege that these executives lack work-life balance. However, the study has some other interesting information.

It seems that nearly across the board, executives aren’t working at home because they feel pressure to do so. Instead, they feel empowered and in control because they can work on their own terms and their own time. Only 15% of the executives surveyed felt that they struggle to separate work from personal/family time.

I believe that the reason for increasingly higher rates of working from home relates to the spike in connectedness between the personal networks of employees on the whole. It is becoming less and less possible to separate yourself from the devices we use both at home and in the office. How many of those emails were checked on a smartphone or tablet that is used both at work and home? Many, I would bet.

The study is titled “The @Work State of Mind,” and that is an apt description for where we as a culture are headed. The dichotomy of the professional and personal self is shrinking, and this is not a bad thing. It means, both at home and at the office, that employees are working when they feel most productive, using the technology and tools that they are most comfortable with.

This is a significant evolution, and it is happening from the ground up. Businesses should nurture these strides because, given the prevalence of personal interconnectivity, it’s impossible to eliminate this activity, even if you wanted to. Business is personal. As long as employees are satisfied and productive, there is no reason struggle for control over the professional/personal balance.

Do you engage in work activities outside of the office? If so, has it had a positive or negative effect on your work/life balance?