I came across an article a few weeks back in the newspaper and started to wonder if life has turned into an “everydayathon”? The article discusses how busyness not only has become the norm rather than the exception, but also a badge of honor, signaling your status and importance. In an essay dating back to 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that by year 2030 we would work according to 15 hours workweeks. Looking at work life today, all of us know that this is far from reality.
So let me post a question – Does flexible work enable you to save time as an employee or does it actually increase time spent on work? Do you take any possible chance on the bus stop to read your emails, or do you stop for a while to look around you and see what is happening in your physical environment? Think about it.
I do not argue that flexible work has a direct link with busyness, busyness does not automatically come along with more freedom to choose individually your time and space to work. But if you have joined the “everydayathon” race, it is likely that you work whenever there is a blank spot in your calendar and a ten-minute moment of “I have nothing better to do”. Based on our project findings, flexible work enables people to more productively use their time and spaces for work, and to work according to personal preferences. On the same time, a vast amount of these people still put down more hours on work than required. That said, busyness is not only a result from the workplace itself, it is a bigger problem on the society level.
Busy as you probably are when reading this, I will stop here. Ironically, as I was writing this blog post I filled out a short survey and received the following message: “We know that you are busy, so we really appreciate your taking the time to complete this survey. Thanks again for giving us your feedback about…”. Busyness is really the new norm, not only in the work place, but everywhere. Luckily, moves towards compressed workweeks or including a day per week designated for own projects (like Google paved the way for), is gaining more attention. What if working shorter time, but more focused and with more inspiration, is really the key to success?