Working More, Enjoying It Less?

Weren’t we told that computers were going to make our lives easier? Allow us to spend more time with our families? Play more golf? Take that long overdue family vacation? That was the concept, but it just hasn’t turned out that way, has it?

Those of us who are natural-born workaholics now have VPNs and other methods of connectivity that keep us tied to our laptops, iPads, iPhones, Black Berry’s. I spent a solid hour at Verizon playing with the new Droid Incredible a few weeks ago and found a new tool that will keep me “more in touch.” With over 150,000 apps there isn’t too much that you can’t do on an iPhone, iPad or even the iPod touch.

While these innovations are really cool, they keep us closely tethered to the office 24/7. We can run, but we can’t hide.

More than 10 years ago, when the work day was over, it was over. You simply got into your car, went home and didn’t give work another thought. And even if you did think of something, there wasn’t anything you could do until you arrived on the job the next day. It could wait.

Are we more productive?
But the question is this: Are we being more productive as a result of all this technology?

According to Kelly Services, “Global Workforce Index (via eMarketer) shows that no less than 78% of workers in the U.S. & Canada – across all generations – believed that technology, such as laptops and mobile phones have effectively increased their productivity. Over half of the respondents even said they felt ‘much more’ productive, and only 2% said made them worse workers.” (Slackers)

Other key findings: More than 7 in 10 workers from across the globe considered the ability to work outside of the office a ‘positive’ development, and a whoppping 87% agreed that telecommuting was an attractive benefit to any job.

In addition, 30% in North America, 33% in Europe and 41% in the Asia-Pacific region agreed that they were working longer hours because of mobile communications.

Okay, so we’re working more hours, are more productive, BUT are we making more money? Are we enjoying it more? The jury’s still out. It’s a yes and no answer, here.

While some of us may be making more money, it’s likely the U.S. government is taking more in taxes. Add additional state taxes into that equation and the disposable income level falls about 40% less than the gross amount earned.  And we have less time to enoy the extra money because we’re working longer hours!

Or as educator and author of Overcoming Time Poverty, Bill Quain puts it, “Many people are playing a work game that robs them of quality time.” Quain explains that most employees trade their time for dollars on a job. If they need more money, then they have to ’sell’ more of their time. “Soon, they spend so much time working for money they have too little time for everything else,” says Quain.

One thing is clear: The definition of work-day is growing up.  Are you growing along with it, or you fighting it?