Work life balance… sort of… May 19, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Workers Rights.
For an example of how workplaces are changing in the contemporary period there’s no better example than the statistic earlier in the month that 80% of Irish employees access social media at work. Okay, the report by William Fry law firm, is not perhaps quite as scientific as might be hoped for, but purely anecdotal observation of public and private work places suggests that the ubiquity of the mobile is now complete, or almost so.
Can’t say I blame people, work is, in large part for many, tedious. Anything that helps get people through the day is probably no bad thing. It also perhaps, indicates that the discipline of work places is now somewhat different to what it used to be.
I’d love to think that this is a sign of good things more generally, but I’m a little dubious. Perhaps because I see no real efforts societally to democratise working lives, again either in public or private workplaces. Most are run along lines that the most Stalinist command economy would look upon with envy. Autonomy is limited – and increasingly curtailed. Less union membership and unions that seem detached from workplace concerns adds to this.
So while there are changes, and some are better, some unfortunately are worse.
Take the following from the SBP and also reported in the Irish Times:
Irish workers spend an average of 56 minutes per working day on social media sites
More than 80 per cent of Irish employees access social media sites at work, spending an average of 56 minutes per working day on such sites, a new report has found.
Again, this is unsurprising. I asked an IT person in a place I worked about Facebook access and their take was that most people in the place had it on in their browser all day long.
Another employment, and this tallies with data that ‘more than 46 per cent of Irish employers do not have a social media policy in place, leaving them open to internal disputes, abuse and potential litigation’, was very unkeen to impose any sort of internet/social media policy, not least because middle and upper management had discovered the – ahem – joys of the internet and weren’t keen to see access to them curtailed.
Around 40 per cent of companies have imposed bans on employees accessing sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
But, for there is a but…
…as the majority of employees access social media from personal devices, the value of imposing absolute restrictions is limited, the report says.
In a way it’s an example of a brilliant contradiction within capitalism, between the near all pervasive push by social media/internet providers to encompass all our lives all the time, or as much as is humanly possible, and the requirements of individual workplaces – and perhaps the economy as a whole – to operate without interruption.
I’m sceptical in the extreme about Google glasses, but assuming they did catch on I wonder if and how that would be policed in workplaces.
What is the experience of people generally in relation to social media in workplaces?