Work hard, play hard

You see this rather hackneyed phrase far too much these days for my liking. People seem to like wearing it as a badge of honour. My problem with it is that it serves to reinforce the traditional boundaries between ones work life and social life, which in my book is a problem.

OK, some use it to justify work related jollies, which is fine. In fact it’s more than fine. If it’s true it’s a beautiful thing. However, others use it as an excuse to sneak out early on a Friday afternoon because their super human efforts have enabled them to pack into 4 hours what their less able colleagues take a whole day to achieve.

I’ve just finished reading a very interesting piece by Julian Birkinshaw, Professor of Strategic and International Management at London Business School called Is social networking at work good for employee engagement?

The fact that more companies in the UK ban the use of social networking sites in the workplace than don’t means that this is already a much debated issue. There was an excellent piece a while back on Mashable which pretty much articulated my own very strong views on the matter. What interested me most was the bit on the blurring of the boundaries between home and work, especially given that in my inaugural introductory post yesterday I boldly stated I like this trend.

It’s true, I feel this blurring is a very positive thing – what Professor Birkinshaw has done is help me think harder about why. The truth is I had never really thought about it, other than to rationalise that it is a very powerful force in creating stronger bonds between a company and its customers. I hadn’t really considered that people who like to keep their work life and social life completely separate may be leaving their more creative and playful side of themselves at home.

Professor Birkinshaw suggests that when people bring more of themselves to work the benefits are increased creativity, engagement and discretionary effort. Rock on!

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