New working practices and the seven-day weekend

The three-day working week of the early 1970s was a political reaction to intractable challenges posed through industrial action.

Sometimes reactions can be used to create new models of working and there was a time when UK workers might have expected the long-term adoption of a four or three-day working week.

Such changes never materialised, most workers still work a full five-day week – but transformation is afoot, often sponsored by fast-evolving internet technologies.

BlackBerry owners will be familiar with the new feeling of hyper-connectivity. Not so long ago, office email was a Monday-to-Friday, nine-to-five technology.

Then you get a BlackBerry and can access email anytime, hardly noticing how regularly you check emails during the weekend.

But while no executive can resist the call of the flashing red light on a BlackBerry, some semblance of moderation is required.

While technology can be a facilitator for 24/7 access, it can also be a conduit for more flexible and sensible working practices.

Such freedom means workers no longer have to be tied to a desk, constrained by the rigid definition of a five-day working week.

Smart employers are beginning to use available IT to allow their workers to contribute from various locations at any time of the day.

And what is emerging in these smarter firms is not a reduced working week but increased flexibility that might be better described as a seven-day weekend.

Trusted employees are logging-in at a broader collection of times, fitting their working arrangements around their external commitments.

Rather than just creating a more effective work/life balance, technology is actually beginning to provide a better life/work balance – and those sort of priorities actually help employees feel more valued and work harder.


Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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