How has the work week changed?
This is the second post on Its One Life! series of mindset change. In my last post I answered the question, “What is Hard Work?” in this day and age. In this post I will provide my insight into how a work week has changed.
What is a work week?
A work week for US Workers has been Monday – Friday. Some trace the history of this work week to Henry Ford in 1926 and nation wide adaptation in 1940. So, the work week is a by product of the Industrial Age and has survived in the Information Age so far. The idea behind the work week is you go to work each day around the same time, you punch a clock, you work for 8 hours a day, you punch the clock out and come back from work. This makes up the 40 hrs/week. For a factory worker as well as a factory employer this process worked. In this setting, the productivity of the worker is easily tracked and monitored.
How has the work week changed in the information age ?
In Information Age, a work week of putting in 40 hrs/week is not so effective especially if most of the employees are knowledge workers. Knowledge workers who work on documentation, who code programs, who trouble shoot technical issues etc., In this age of e-mail, Instant Messaging, Social networking and Twittering, the day of a knowledge worker can be filled with busy work. Busy work that could be relevant to the job and can fill up the entire day of the knowledge worker without any real work done.
Busy work is rampant. Busy work of answering e-mails, attending unproductive meetings, text messaging – all activities that are work-related but no accomplishments at the end of the day. So, some companies have realized the pitfalls of the typical work week and have structured the work around accomplishments/deliverables. No Monday-Friday, punch in, punch out. One successful example is of Best Buy that has revolutionized the work week with a concept called ROWE (Results Only Work Environment). Many companies are following suit with their own version of ROWE.
So, what’s the mindset change that is needed? In future, there will be no work week. Work life and personal life will become one for most companies. Its One Life!