Monday, July 30th, 2012

BLURRING OF WORK-LIFE BOUNDARIES

How is the blurring of work-life boundaries impacting on business-making decisions? Excerpt from “The @Work State of Mind Project” – a joint effort of b2b agency gyro, and Forbes Insights. To download the complete report go to www.gyro.com/atwork.

The place of doing business—once, the traditional office— is no longer a physical or stationary location, but a state of mind. People address work issues whenever and wherever they arise. “The collapse or collision of work and home life is a new world phenomenon that must be understood by today’s marketers in order to shape their communications, messaging and delivery methods,” says Michael A. Disser, president of MAD Marketing.

Asked if she was making more business decisions outside the office than in the office, Juniper Networks’ Flaherty said: “I don’t even know if I make that distinction. You make them where and when you need to make them.”

The survey detected some regional variation here: Those in the U.K. spend less time on work decisions at home, as well as less time on personal matters in the office, and so are more likely to keep the two realms separate. Executives interviewed for this report point to the advantages of the blurring of the lines between work and personal time. Gyro’s Allen notes that where and when someone decides is fluid, and that the locations where business decisions are made are not always correlated with when or where they are conceived or evaluated.

Executives may be pondering business-related information during personal time, or they may test a potential solution they’ve reached outside the office at work.

“Outside of work is often one of the few places where I have a chance to actually think about something, gather up the evidence, weigh the facts and come to a conclusion,”says Allen.

Porter Novelli’s Goldberg says that it’s an advantage to be able to respond to the flash of inspiration anytime. “The light of it to me is that I have a right to participate in anything that my head and heart are interested in at the moment,” he says. “There is no ‘open’ or ‘closed’ sign.”

Goldberg expounds on the freedom afforded by the @Work State of Mind: “I can accomplish all the matters of heart and mind, and get them all done—ultimately with much more control than I ever had before. It wasn’t that long ago, but at the same time it was a world ago, I had to focus on things that were professional during the day, and I couldn’t get to [other things]. So, I had chores when I got to work and I had chores when I got home, a to-do list in two places. Now I can be in a coffee line and reserving tickets to a vacation, and at the same time, studying something in social media that I think is relevant to a client. It’s this mass blending.”

The blurring of work and personal life has influenced not only where and when, but also—perhaps most important—how people are making decisions. More than three in four respondents said that personal values were important or critically important in making business decisions, more than said that return on investment or other financial benchmarks were important or critically important.

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