Tech & Work

IT: Will it enslave or liberate tomorrow's worker?

Need advice on balancing work with your home life? Work/home life issues expert Stewart D. Friedman moderates this discussion on how to handle your IT job without sacrificing your personal life. We want to hear from you, so post a comment!


Discussion: IT: Will it enslave or liberate tomorrow's worker?
(February 12-15, 2001)
Moderator:
"Technology can serve either to enslave or liberate, as an ally or enemy of the integration between work and family."
Stewart Friedman, Ph.D., Director Leadership Development Center Ford Motor Company
  Read Stewart's Bio
Related Content: Get a little background before joining the discussion.
Download our list of family-friendly workplace resources Develop a corporate balance between work and life
Participation guide | Discussions FAQ

Moderator:
"Technology can serve either to enslave or liberate, as an ally or enemy of the integration between work and family."
Stewart Friedman, Ph.D., Director Leadership Development Center Ford Motor Company
  Read Stewart's Bio
Related Content: Get a little background before joining the discussion.
Download our list of family-friendly workplace resources Develop a corporate balance between work and life
Participation guide | Discussions FAQ

You may not know it yet, but there’s a revolution on the rise, according to work/home life issues expert Stewart D. Friedman. In the recent book Work and Family—Allies or Enemies? Friedman, director of the Leadership Development Center at Ford Motor Company, and Jeffery H. Greenhaus, a work issue researcher, acknowledge the friction between work and home but explore ways in which we can try to integrate the two domains to achieve some sort of balance.

Information Technology is at the forefront of altering the work landscape by offering more options for work/family integration. But, as so many in IT know, technology that makes work more accessible can become a double-edged sword. In their book, Friedman and Greenhaus write, “The implication is that technology can serve either to enslave or liberate, as an ally or enemy of the integration between work and family. Used wisely it liberates us, allowing us to shift time and place in a way that can create flexibility—a key attribute of any integrative solution to work-family dilemmas.”
TechRepublic is taking a look at how work is encroaching on the personal lives of IT professionals via constant connectivity and ever-growing performance demands. This series looks at what employers can do to help employees balance work and family demands, and what strategies employees can use to save some time for themselves.
But for many working professionals, the roles they play at work and at home require different mindsets. Often, individuals at work are thinking about home while time at home with the family is spent thinking about work. Factor in two-way BlackBerry pagers, mobile phones, and reliable VPN access to the office network and the issue becomes more complex. While these capabilities promise greater flexibility and options to alter when and where one works, will they fuel the discord between work and family or bring harmony between the two environments?
pervasiveworkplace.zip
Do you think a work/home life balance is possible?
Do IT professionals face particular challenges in working towards integrating work and family? Are the employees responsible for designing the systems, building the networks, and supporting the VPNs exempt from the liberating prospects of Information Technology?

We gather from members’ comments from a discussion about the Compaq BlackBerry—which has drawn 123 postings—and a dialogue about the hours that IT professionals are working that if you’re in IT, you often feel last in line for work/home harmony. Share your thoughts on these issues by joining our moderated discussion. Friedman will be checking in on the conversation for the next four days to share his thoughts. You’ll be able to recognize him by his screen name, sfriedm2@ford.com. (Click on page 2 to read the discussion participation guide.)
To participate in a TechRepublic moderated forum, you must register on our site. Joining in a discussion is simple. Just click on the title of a posting at the bottom of an article or on the More Hot Discussions link. You’ll then move to the full view of the threaded discussion. Click on the title of any comment you want to directly respond to and then click Post A Reply in the Options section. You can also click Subscribe To This Discussion to get a periodic reminder via e-mail of new developments in this conversation. We hope that you’ll express your opinions freely in this moderated discussion. However, we also ask that you respect a general sense of decorum while responding to other members’ thoughts and perspectives.

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