Work life balance issues in mobile enabled work environment


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Work life balance issues in mobile enabled work environment

  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTSSL.NO TOPIC PAGE NO.1. Introduction 3 1.1. Work patterns are changing 3 1.2. The workforce is changing 5 1.3. The workplace is changing 6 1.4. Flexible work environments 6 1.5. Distributed work environments 62. Literature Review 83. Work Life Balance Issues in Mobile enabled Environment 13 3.1. Technology and the mix of jobs 15 3.2. The organization of work 17 3.3. Benefits of work life balance in mobile work 22 3.4. Suitability for mobile work 22 3.5. Security in Mobile Work 22 3.6. Steps For Establishing a Mobile Environment 23 3.7. Some techniques of implementation of mobile work 23 3.8. The Changing Work Environment in IBM 25 3.9. Work Life Strategy 254. Case Study 265. Conclusion 46 Reference 47Work Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 2
  3. 3. 1. INTRODUCTIONZedeck and Mosier (1990) and more recently O’Driscoll (1996) note that there aretypically five main models used to explain the relationship between work and life outsidework. The segmentation model hypothesizes that work and non-work are two distinctdomains of life that are lived quite separately and have no influence on each other. Thisappears to be offered as a theoretical possibility rather than a model with empiricalsupport. In contrast, as pill over model hypothesizes that one world can influence theother in either a positive or negative way. There is, of course, ample research to supportthis but as a proposition it is specified in such a general way as to have little value. Wetherefore need more detailed propositions about the nature, causes and consequences ofspillover. The third model is a compensation model which proposes that what may belacking in one sphere, in terms of demands or satisfactions can be made up in theother. For example work may be routine and undemanding but this is compensated forby a major role in local community activities outside work. A fourth model isan instrumental model whereby activities in one sphere facilitate success in theother. The traditional example is the instrumental worker who will seek to maximizeearnings, even at the price of undertaking a routine job and working long hours, to allowthe purchase of a home or a car for a young family. The final model is a conflict modelwhich proposes that with high levels of demand in all spheres of life, some difficultchoices have to be made and some conflicts and possibly some significant overload on anindividual occur.[26]1.1 Work patterns are changingIn response to this demand for rapid innovation, work has become more flexible,distributed and collaborative. Remember the elusive promise of more leisure time thanksto technology innovations? That was obliterated when companies “reengineered” and“right-sized,” causing surviving employees to face ever-increasing demands forproductivity. Although this productivity increase was meant to come from continuousprocess improvement, workweeks of sixty hours or more became common. Jobrequirements, enabled by advances in communication, have blurred the distinctionbetween work and personal time. Specific hours, location, and dress codes are rapidlybecoming obsolete. Anytime/anywhere has become the norm.Management styles have become less hierarchical, job security has become an historicartifact, and work is organized around collaborative teams, often geographicallydispersed. The Hollywood model of bringing together free agents for a project and thendisbanding has long been used in the construction industry and is now being adopted in abusiness context. Employers hire and retain employees based on short-termWork Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 3
  4. 4. needs. Outsourcing and contracting are replacing traditionally in-sourced functions,providing employers increased flexibility.1.2 The workforce is changingCompanies are shopping globally for high-quality services at the lowest price by off-shoring, near-shoring and seeking low-cost domestic labor markets. Nearlyinstantaneous, low-cost communication has enabled the globalization of work. India,the Philippines and many other countries are emerging as suppliers of highly skilledworkers due to their educational standards, language skills and low wagerates. Managing this highly diverse workforce remotely across cultures requires newskills and heightened awareness of differences. Providing the right processes, technologyand environment for these far-flung enterprises is critical to their success.Profound shifts in the domestic workforce are also inevitable based on currentdemographic trends. The Baby Boom generation is nearing retirement age and there arenot enough workers in the 25-44 age range to replace them. For example, even thoughcompanies will continue to seek low-cost labor markets globally, the U.S. Bureau ofLabor Statistics projects a shortfall of 10 million workers in the United States by the year2010. In response, companies will seek to attract talent that they may once have by-passed including older workers, women and minorities. They will also depend more onfree-agents and contract employees. Attracting and retaining skilled workers will behighly competitive.Employers are beginning to appreciate the wisdom of keeping critically important skills,knowledge, relationships and experience from walking out the door. They areconsidering flexible retirement options that allow mature workers to continue on theirown terms, with much more control over their schedule and location. In a HarvardBusiness Review article called “It’s Time to Retire Retirement,” Ken Dychtwald says,“The concept of retirement is outdated and should be put out to pasture in favor of a moreflexible approach to ongoing work. People are living longer, healthier lives. Motivatedboth by a desire to work and by economic necessity, many older workers are eager totake advantage of these options.As a result, many more generations will be in the work force simultaneously. Youngerworkers’ priorities include creating a balance between work and personal time. Theirexpectations of their employers extend beyond salary to issues such as flexible hours,amenities (day-care, fitness centers, food service, etc.), the latest technology tools and thequality of the work environment. They tend to choose companies with values that areclosely aligned to their own.Work Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 4
  5. 5. The number of women and minorities will better reflect the population. Women, alreadyconstituting nearly 50% of the workforce, will be better represented across levels andfunctions. Gender, cultural and racial workforce diversity offers employers competitiveadvantage in many ways. For example, as the workforce begins to mirror their customers,companies are better able to anticipate and meet customer needs. Diversity also bringsmultiple, overlapping and, possibly, conflicting values, traditions, needs and desires intothe workplace. Careful attention must be paid to meet these needs.Competition for key talent will be stiff. Employers will be constantly challenged toattract and maintain a staff with the skills that are critical to the organization’ssuccess. Highly talented individuals will wield a good deal of discretionarypower. Richard Florida, professor at Carnegie Mellon, author and theorist, labels thistype of worker “the creative class”. Speaking as one of them, he writes “In addition tobeing fairly compensated for the work we do and the skills we bring, we want the abilityto learn and grow, shape the content of work, control our own schedules and express ouridentities through work. And companies of all types, including large established ones,are adapting to this change by striving to create new workplaces that are more amenableto creative work. In this, they have no choice: Either they will create these kinds ofenvironments or they will wither and die.”Work Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 5
  6. 6. 1.3 The workplace is changingWhile changes in work patterns and the workforce are occurring rapidly, changes in theworkplace are taking place at a much slower pace. Investments in buildings, furniture andequipment remain on the books for long, fixed periods. As a result, work environmentsare likely to reflect outdated work patterns. Because many companies are still trying toshed excess space due to corporate mergers and staff downsizing, they may have littleappetite to embark on new initiatives even if the investment would lower operatingcosts. As we have seen, competitive pressures and the impending labor shortage willrequire that companies adapt their work arrangements to support workers, to help themconnect and to build a sense of community.1.4 Flexible work environmentsThe work environment must be responsive to multifaceted requirements. This does notmean that the workplace will be tailored to individuals or processes, since they arecontinually changing. While work tasks may be more specialized than ever before, toolsare becoming more generic. The architect’s drafting table, the scientist’s lab and theresearcher’s library are no longer specialized spaces or hardware – just software andaccess to information.A corporate reorganization no longer foreshadows a series of staged moves and costlyrefits. With phone number portability, the ability to log on to any device and flexiblefurniture, this becomes a matter of moving boxes at most. The need for mobility hasprovided the incentive to reduce extra baggage, print less and have fewer personal itemson hand, thus challenging long-standing assumptions about storage needs.Teams need the ability to form and disband quickly and easily in response to projectrequirements. The key is flexibility, accomplished by providing a variety of spaces (quietspace, meeting rooms, gathering places, etc.), adaptable furniture configurations andtechnology tools to link geographically dispersed team members.1.5 Distributed work environmentsMobility has already happened even without formal policies. Whether someone is in theoffice, on the road or working from home has become largely irrelevant. Non-traditionalworkplaces include home offices, airports, workplace clubs, satellite offices, libraries,coffee shops and any wireless hot-spot. Historic sites and rural locations that could notfunction effectively when everything needed to be hardwired are now finding newuses. Wireless voice and data are making workers increasingly independent of a fixedlocation, even within the corporate office.Work Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 6
  7. 7. Work is coming to the worker. Employers go where they find qualified labor at the bestrates. Skilled workers are more in control of their location. Work can even follow thesun. For example, at the end of the work day in Los Angeles, a team can pass workelectronically to colleagues in Singapore, who then pass it on to a team in Scotland, for24-hour productivity.Off-shoring and near-shoring trends will continue and accelerate. Employers are activelyseeking ways to best manage and support all remote workers in order to make the most ofthe potential productivity gains and cost savings. McKinsey & Company’s tomorrow labco-founders, George Goldsmith and Cory Lefebvre, found four factors that lead to anefficient and effective virtual team: a shared vision and process, great people, effectivecommunication and appropriate technology. By providing remote workers with the toolsand infrastructure they need, perceived distances are reduced.Work Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 7
  8. 8. 2. LITERATURE REVIEWBettina Beurer-Zuellig [1] explains that the smartphones have the potential toimprove and accelerate work processes through timely provision of information,enhanced reachability and the simplification of coordination processes. This study treats apresent organizational issue related to increasing the productivity of the mobileworkforce.Torsten L. Brodt et. al. [2] explains the nature and practice of managing mobile work inEurope. On basis of empirical analysis of five selected case studies from a largeEuropean research project, a number of enablers and barriers for the successfulintroduction of mobile work initiatives are presented and discussed. So far, research inthe area of mobile work is limited to a few, often singular, case studies and lacks asystematic assessment of current types, practices and applications.Jan Kietzmann, [3] explain the increasing popularity of mobile information systems, theactual processes leading to the innovation of mobile technologies remain largelyunexplored. This study uses Action Research to examine the innovation of a mobileRFID technology. Working from Activity Theory, it departs from the prevalent product-oriented view of innovation and treats technology-in-the making as a complex activity,made possible through the interaction of manufacturers, their organizational clients andtheir respective mobile workers.Johanna Koroma et. al. [4] explains the way of working with no fixed workplace, insteadmobile employees travel using ICT (information and communication technologies) forcommunicating and collaborating with others from different locations.T. Alexandra Beauregard et. al. [5] suggest that the business case may therefore need tobe modified to reflect the number of additional routes by which work-life balancepractices can influence organizational performance, including enhanced social exchangeprocesses, increased cost savings, improved productivity, and reduced turnover.Val Jones et. al. [6] explains that the main objective of the MOSAIC project is toaccelerate innovation in mobile worker. Support Environments by shaping futureWork Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 8
  9. 9. research and innovation activities in Europe. The modus operandi of MOSAIC is todevelop visions and illustrative scenarios for future collaborative workspaces involvingmobile and location-aware working.Nikals Johansson et. al. [7] their research is concern about usability of mobiletechnology, they are mainly interested in usability of mobile IT systems used in aprofessional work context. Such work support systems are found in various work settings,e.g. in health care, in technical maintenance and in sales and consultant organizations. ITsystems support mobile work activities and are sometimes necessary for making workmobile.Nick Bloom et. al.[8] Many critics of free-market liberalism argue that higher product-market competition and the “Anglo-Saxon” management practices it stimulates increasesproductivity only at the expense of employees’ work-life balance (WLB). Aftercontrolling for management practices, however, we find no additional relationshipbetween WLB and productivity. WLB practices are also not reduced by toughercompetition, suggesting no deleterious effect of competition on employees’ workingenvironment.E. Jeffrey Hill et. al. [9] Millions use electronic tools to do their jobs away from thetraditional office. Some labor in a ‘‘virtual office’’ with flexibility to work wherever itmakes sense and others telecommute primarily from home. Perceptions, directcomparisons, and multivariate analyses suggest that the influence of the virtual office ismostly positive on aspects of work but somewhat negative on aspects of personal/familylife. The influence of the home office appears to be mostly positive and the influence oftraditional office mostly negative on aspects of both work and personal/life.Htwe Htwe Thein et. al. [10] ‘Work/family balance’ has recently come to the fore inpublic policy debate and academic inquiry across the industrialized world. However, thisissue has been relatively under-explored in the context of Asian business and society.Data from focus groups were used to explore how women in these countries perceivework/family balance and the role of family, government and other support structures inmanaging this aspect of their lives.Work Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 9
  10. 10. Masao Kakihara, [11] explains the concept of mobility, particularly in contemporarywork contexts. With support of information and communication technologies (ICTs) ingeneral and mobile technology in particular, contemporary work activities areincreasingly distributed and dynamically conducted in various locations. In such anemerging work environment, maintaining a highly level of ‘mobility’ is becoming criticalfor contemporary workers, particularly for mobile professionals.Maria C. W. Peeters et. al. [12] The aim of the present study was to make a cleardistinction between work and home domains in the explanation of burnout. A model wastested that delineates how demands in both life domains are related to occupationalburnout through work_home interference (WHI) and home_work interference (HWI). Indoing so, the partial mediating role of WHI and HWI was examined.Seamus Tyler-Baxter, [13] Tells about work-life balance is an important topic that isworthy of study and is becoming increasingly popular among researchers. There is a lackof knowledge contributing to the work-life balance issues for new graduates. This studyseeks to explore how graduates in their first year of post-university study, experiencework-life balance.Diane Perrons, [14] Given the varied claims made about the new economy and itsimplication for the organization of work and life, this article critically evaluates someconceptualizations of the new economy and then explores how the new media sector hasmaterialized and been experienced by people working in Brighton and Hove, a newmedia hub. The President Council of Economic Advisers, [15] explains that the Flexible workplacearrangements can be in terms of when one works, where one works, or how much oneworks (including time off after childbirth or other life events). They include a variety ofarrangements such as job sharing, phased retirement of older workers, andtelecommuting, that allow workers to continue making productive contributions to theworkforce while also attending to family and other responsibilities.Australian Institute of management, [16] said that Across Australia there is a growingdemand for more flexible work arrangements. Working part time, staggering start andWork Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 10
  11. 11. finish times, teleworking, taking extended leave, staging retirement or phasing a returnfrom leave—all these and more are finding their way into workplaces.UN women at Expert Group Meeting, [17] finds that a flexible work cultureencompasses, but goes beyond, the provision and use of flexible work practices. It is onewhere employees feel comfortable working flexibly. It is a culture where managingflexibly is a required management ability, where employees are empowered to challengenotions of where, when and how work gets done, and where the business case forflexibility is well understood and support for flexibility is characterized by clear andvisible leadership.Vodafone white paper, [18] key concept of paper is mobile and flexible working is anirreversible development, a shift that is not just about complying with development withlegislation but also about achieving social, economic and environmental benefits for youremployees.Niharika doble et. al. [19] paper addresses work-life balance across genders. Both menand women reported experiencing work life imbalance. Organizational efforts atproviding a supportive work environment are appreciated as they goes a long waytowards enhancing work life balance.Jennifer Redmond et. al. [20] said that Work-life balance policies, workplace culture,childcare and maternity issues can have a special resonance for those who are facing acrisis pregnancy. those who feel that they can successfully combine work and parenthoodare more likely to continue with an unplanned pregnancy and parent their child. Helen Lingard et. al. [21] A survey was conducted to determine the work-lifeexperiences of the employees of one large Australian construction firm. Thequestionnaire was designed to elicit information about employees’ demographiccharacteristics, feelings about work, family relationship quality and preferences for work-life balance initiatives.Work Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 11
  12. 12. Hon Ruth Dyson, [22] said that participation in paid employment has become morecommon, there has been increasing concern about how to achieve a work-life balance. Itis probably fair to say that everyone encounters issues of combining paid work with theother things that matter to them at some stage of their lives. It is also clear from thestories summarized in this report that some people face significant barriers to achievingbalance in their lives.Nancy R. Lockwood, [23] concluded that the Work/life programs have the potential tosignificantly improve employee morale, reduce absenteeism, and retain organizationalknowledge, particularly during difficult economic times. In today’s global marketplace,as companies aim to reduce costs, it falls to the human resource professional tounderstand the critical issues of work/life balance and champion work/life programs.Bettina-Johanna Krings et. al. [24] concluded that the workplace are interconnected withwork-life balance in a changing environment, this relationship seems to be an importanttopic in current political debates in Europe. Due to enormous processes of economicupheavals, technological transformation and the dominance of service employmentprovoke major changes not only on the labour markets but also in the social structure ofsocieties. Without doubt these changes also imply societal issues like ageing societies,shortage of public health care or the ongoing integration of women into the labourmarkets.Dr. Muhammad Iqbal Saif et. al. [25] explained the relationship of employee worksatisfaction (job satisfaction) and prevalence of work life balance (WLB) practices inPakistan. A sample of 450 layoff survivors, gathered via stratified sampling, provides thebasis for analysis. The layoff survivors are working in two big organizations operating inPakistan.Work Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 12
  13. 13. 3.Work Life Balance Issues in Mobile enabled Environment The various aspects of mobile enabled environment on work life balance isdiscussed below . New technologies—especially advances in telecommunication andinformation technology—have had profound impacts on the mix of jobs in the economiesof the industrialized nations, on how work is organized, and on people’s experience atwork. The nature of these effects on the work-family interface is contested. Technologyis sometimes portrayed as a force enabling the successful integration of multiple liferoles. According to this line of reasoning, technology can provide opportunities forpeople to balance their responsibilities at work with family duties and other interests. Arecent television commercial epitomized this optimistic vision of technology’s effects ofwork-life integration: a working mother phoned into a conference call via cell phonefrom the beach while her children stage-whispered, “Shh! Mommy is in a meeting.” Toother observers, however, technology is viewed as a vehicle for enslavement to work andsubjugation of the non-work domain to the job. In this vision, workplace technology hasthe potential to invade workers’ lives. Employers could apply advances incommunication and information technology to monitor employees incessantly, renderthem ever-available for work, and reduce their latitude to balance the realms of work andnon-work. One version of this vision was depicted in a film which showed an exhausted,pajama-clad stockbroker hunched over his laptop in the middle of the night. Sincetechnology had enabled him to follow the progress of overseas stock markets in othertime zones during the North American night, he was no longer permitted the luxury of afull night’s sleep. Despite the plausibility of the arguments on both sides of this debate, however,empirical examinations of the relationship between technology and work-life integrationhave offered relatively few consistent findings. Generally, technology variablesconsidered devoid of context tend to explain little of the variance in other phenomena towhich they may conceivably be connected, such as workers’ attitudes or workplace skillstructures .In this sense, work-life balance is not unusual: few studies of individualworkers have turned up much evidence that the technologies workers use have effects onwork-life balance, whether in enhancing work-life integration or in exacerbating conflict.In this chapter, we argue that a meaningful examination of this relationship must take intoaccount the many contextual factors that lie between technology and the integration ofwork and life. Technology per se has few implications for work-life integration. Rather,configurations of technology in organizational, individual, and family contexts mayexacerbate work-life conflict, or, in contrast, provide people with opportunity to balancetheir work and non-work lives successfully.Work Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 13
  14. 14. Work-life integration is “a perceptual phenomenon characterized by a sense ofhaving achieved a satisfactory resolution of the multiple demands” of work and non-workdomains . People whose work and non-work (especially family) lives are well integratedfunction effectively at work and at home, feel a sense of satisfaction with both domains,and experience minimal levels of conflict between work and family. As this definitionsuggests, work-life integration is a multifaceted construct. Researchers interested inwork-life integration have modeled multiple outcomes under the conceptual umbrella ofwork-life or work-family integration or balance, including job satisfaction, familysatisfaction, work interference with family, family interference with work, work-familyconflict that is time-based, strain-based or behavior-based, role overload, andpsychological distress or well-being. It is plausible, and indeed has been demonstratedempirically, that technology can have differential effects on different components ofwork-life integration; for instance, by increasing people’s autonomy and workfunctioning while simultaneously increasing their felt conflict between work and familyor by increasing both their reported spillover from work to family and their sense ofpersonal mastery. In this chapter, we employ a contextual approach in our examination ofthe effects of technology on work-life integration in order to illuminate the sometimescontradictory nature of the relationship. The term “technology” evokes a number of images; its most general definitionrefers to know-how that is objectified independently of specific actors.The interplaybetween managers and workers in implementing technology, the goals of each party andtheir relative power in the workplace influence outcomes, as do the characteristics ofworkers and their home environments, including the relationship of the worker to othermembers of his or her family unit. In the current discussion we identify two main ways in which technology, inconjunction with features of the workplace and the non-work domain, has effects onwork-life integration. First, technology influences the overall mix of jobs and the sets oftasks that jobs comprise. To the extent that jobs in themselves differ in the ways in whichthey influence the relationships between work and family life, technology has thepotential to affect work-life conflict and integration. Technological change leads to thedisappearance of some kinds of jobs, creates others, and in doing so, changes therelationship between work and life outside work. The exact nature of these changes, however, can only be fully understood byconsidering the second mediating path, that is, how technology in use affects theorganization of work. Through technology, managers choose and constrain the tasksassociated with particular jobs and the conditions under which those tasks are performed.Automation of production technologies typically reduces employees’ work autonomy andskill discretion. Technology can also enable close and continual scrutiny of workers bymanagers. Of particular consequence for the relationship between work and other partsof workers’ lives is the fact that technology provides the means for redistribution of workWork Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 14
  15. 15. tasks across time and space. As we will see, the reorganization and redistribution ofwork across time and space is associated with increased permeability of the boundarybetween the work and non-work domains, which has numerous—and sometimescontradictory—implications for work-life integration.3.1 Technology and the mix of jobs To a certain extent, the quality of individuals’ work-life integration reflects thesorts of jobs and occupations in which they work. Therefore, understanding whereparticular jobs fit into the production process, taking into account the amount of marketpower held by their incumbents, and analyzing the extent to which these jobs provideautonomy in scheduling and other activities will yield insight into the relationshipbetween technology and work-life integration.The trajectory of technological development underlies the relationship between work andthe rest of life, and concerns over the tendency of technological change to exacerbatework-life conflict have a long history.1 Prior to the advent of the factories that emergedwith the industrial revolution, work and other aspects of life were relatively tightlyintegrated. In contrast to their agrarian and artisanal predecessors, modern workplacesuprooted workers from their homes and families and subjected them to extensive, rigid,and closely monitored working hours. Work no longer responded to the dictates of familyand home life; instead, life outside the workplace came to be something that was fittedaround work.Technological progress in the twentieth century promised to reverse these effects of theindustrial revolution. Some authors even suggested that as the march of technologyautomated work and eliminated jobs, societal problems might stem not from the inabilityto integrate work with other aspects of life, but from dealing with displaced workers andfrom attempts to fill in the hours that were once spent working. However, there is littleevidence of this trend. In the second half of the twentieth century, even as technologyadvanced rapidly, the American economy found jobs for millions of new workers(participation by women in the labor force, for example, increased from about 33% in1950 to over 60% by 2000). Instead of a reduction in working hours, the period from1976 and 1993 saw an increase in the average weekly work hours for both men andwomen between the ages of 25 and 54. Technological advances, rather than reducingemployment to a sideshow, seem to be associated with an intensification of work.Though technological change has neither liberated nor dislocated people from work, themix of jobs in which people are employed has changed significantly over time, and thesechanges have ramifications for work-life integration. To take the most dramatic example,about 38 percent of the U.S. labor force worked in agriculture at the turn of the 20thcentury. In 2001, agriculture employed about 2 percent of the labor force. Similarly,Work Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 15
  16. 16. manufacturing employed over one-third of U.S. workers in 1950; half a century later,fewer than 15% of workers were employed in manufacturing. The assembly line and the factory floor were once the exemplars of the splitbetween work and the rest of life. Marx, for example, famously observed of the workerunder industrial capitalism that “life begins for him where [work] ceases.” The decline inthe share of workers employed in manufacturing and concomitant increases in service-sector employment suggest that workers have moved into jobs that – in some instances –permit more freedom of movement and communication outside the workplace, allowmore flexible scheduling, and provide other opportunities to achieve effective integrationbetween work and the rest of life. For example, U.S. service-sector employers are morethan half again more likely than manufacturing establishments to offer flex-time and jobsharing to their employees. The share of people employed as managers and professionals has also increasedsteadily. In 1940, fewer than 15% of American workers outside the agricultural sectorwere managers and professionals; by 2003, this category encompassed nearly a third ofall workers. The increase in the share of workers with supervisory responsibility orprofessional standing suggests a concomitant increase in the autonomy and discretionenjoyed by workers, and research has established that job autonomy is associated withincreased opportunity to exercise control over the relationship between work and non-work and with lower work-family conflict. Additionally, the research on workplaceaccommodation of work-family concerns generally finds that workers with morebargaining power, not those with greater need, are more likely to be the recipient offavorable policies and benefits. This trend favors managers and professionals, whopossess more valuable and marketable human capital than do their lower-skilled,nonsupervisory counterparts in the labor market. This is not to say that successful work-life integration is easily achieved by white-collar, managerial, or professional workers, despite the relative autonomy they may enjoyin comparison with non-supervisory workers. In fact, much of the scholarly attentiongiven to the challenges associated with work-life integration is directed at managers andprofessionals. Even as technological progress has led to increases in the share of jobs inwhich individuals ostensibly direct and control their own schedules and working hours,concerns have focused on the fact that people in these groups seem to be working, onaverage, more than ever, and are having a great deal of difficulty in balancing theirresponsibilities at work with the rest of their interest. In addition to working longerhours, managerial and professional employees also tend to have a higher level ofpsychological involvement with their jobs than do working-class employees, whichplaces them at higher risk for work-family conflict. It was found that job involvementwas positively related to work-to-family conflict among white-collar workers, whereasthese two variables were unrelated among blue-collar workers. In addition to reflectingoccupational differences in job involvement, this finding may signal the greater tendencyWork Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 16
  17. 17. of white-collar work to spill over into the family domain, an effect that has beenintensified by the increasing use of a variety of communication technologies (e.g., cellphones, laptop computers, and internet connections) among white-collar workers). Differences in the nature of production technology across industries are associatedwith differences in the ability of members of various occupations to integrate work andfamily. For instance, research suggests that in industries such as manufacturing andhealth services, work may be tied to machinery that is not portable and that may need tobe operated on an inflexible schedule, with the result that work schedules are determinedby the location and scheduling of the technology itself, rather than by workers’ needs.Other industries that rely more on flexible, portable forms of information technology(e.g., the use of laptop computers and cell phones among sales professionals orconsultants) offer greater opportunities for the integration of work and family demandsbecause workers have more ability to control how, where and when they deploy thetechnology.3.2 The organization of workThe second mediator in our model is work organization. The implementation oftechnology in organizations represents a set of strategic choices made by managers.Technology is implemented in the context of and in concert with sets of work practiceswhich, together with the technology itself, shape how work tasks are organized and howemployees experience work. Assessments of the relationship between technology andwork-life integration should thus consider the various ways in which the implementationof technology influences the organization of work tasks. Since the same technology canbe used in different ways, it is difficult to make blanket predictions about the effect oftechnologies on the work-life interface. Rather, it is critical to examine variations in howtechnologies are used within and across workplaces. We discuss relevant moderatingfactors in the subsequent section of this chapter.Technology in use defines workers’ tasks. An assembly line under mass production, forexample, permits workers little control over the content of their work, its pace, or theorder in which they do particular tasks. The effects of automation are not limited tomanufacturing; service environments such as telephone call centers can feature never-ending queues of customers and relentless pressure to handle calls. Technology deployedin this fashion has long been held to have invidious effects on workers, underlying, forexample, the upward-sloping portion of Blauner’s famous “inverted-U” relationshipbetween technology and workplace alienation (1964). Automation has the potential toraise obstacles to effective work-life integration. To the extent that technology controlsthe pace of work and is combined with discretion-reducing managerial practices, it candiminish workers’ ability to engage, both physically and psychologically, in other lifeactivities (Barnett, 1998). Work on assembly lines or in high-volume telephone callcenters requires that breaks be approved by supervisors or carefully scheduled inWork Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 17
  18. 18. advance. To take a simple example, automation-governed work can limit access to spur-of-the-moment telephone calls to or from baby-sitters, teachers, or family members, andrestricts workers’ discretion in scheduling times to take or make such calls.In addition to reducing autonomy, technology can also place workers under closermanagerial scrutiny by facilitating extensive monitoring of employees’ work. Forexample, sophisticated computer systems are replacing mechanical time clocks and areextending managers’ ability to track when employees start and stop—a capacitypreviously applied primarily to working class employees—to more highly skilledworkers. For example, lawyers and members other occupational groups that areresponsible for “billable” hours may be required to have software on their computers thattracks exactly when they log on and log off, as well as the number and length of periodsof inactivity. Instant messaging can serve the same purpose; when employees log off, oreven fail to respond promptly, it is apparent to others that they are not at their desks.Many companies have installed monitoring software that tracks their employees’ usage ofthe Internet and records all keystrokes made by employees. Telephone call centerworkers are subject to some of the most sophisticated electronic monitoring technologycurrently in use. Monitoring systems record the number of calls taken by each worker,the length of each call, the amount of time callers are placed on hold, the number of ringsbefore the call is answered, and so on. The systems allow managers to monitor the extentto which workers comply with specified work procedures, as in the case of operators whoare required to limit the number of keystrokes they use when searching the database fortelephone numbers. The monitoring system identifies those operators who are enteringmore keystrokes than the number specified for optimal productivity. Research suggeststhat electronic monitoring is a source of stress for those workers who are subject to it andthat it can have deleterious consequences for work-life integration. Electronic monitoringhas been identified as a predictor of emotional exhaustion, an aversive state which islikely to spill over into the non-work domain. Evidence from a study of call centerworkers shows that the intensity of monitoring is positively related to work exhaustionand negatively related to satisfaction with work-life balance. It is likely that thesenegative effects are most pronounced where monitoring technology is used in such a wayas to reduce workers’ discretion and to make them feel as if they are being constantlyscrutinized.Consistent with our contextualist approach, we offer three reasons to be cautious inhypothesizing direct links between the use of command-and-control productiontechnologies (those which restrict worker autonomy) and the undermining of work-lifeintegration. First, similar “hard” technologies can be deployed to quite varied effect. Forexample, that the computerized automation of tasks in bank branches has very differenteffects on wages depending on whether such automation is undertaken in conjunctionwith high-involvement work practices, or, in contrast, with practices that reduce workers’discretion. Information technologies can be deployed in such a manner as to renderWork Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 18
  19. 19. workers independent from or interdependent with one another. When workers areorganized into self-managing groups and overlap in task assignments, they may be able totake at least temporary responsibility for one another’s work when needed, therebyallowing individual workers to accommodate needs arising from the family domain.Indeed, a recent study of some 4000 manufacturing workers found that membership in aself-directed work team was associated with greater work-family balance.Second, a service or production context rarely invokes a single dominant technology. Forexample, alternatives to assembly line and mass production technologies such as “flexiblespecialization” and “lean production” rely more heavily on teamwork, worker skills anddecision-making. In services, too, firms may organize work more or less restrictively.Call centers, for example, have been alternatively characterized as the “dark Satanicmills” of the New Economy and as a setting for a variety of approaches to theorganization of work. In either case, the point is that the organizing logic of theworkplace is neither dictated by the environment nor fixed by design; rather, technologiesare deployed by managers (and this deployment may be contested by workers). Onequestion that has received almost no attention in field research is the extent to whichwork-life integration is a consideration in managerial choices or in workers’ responses.A third point is that not all automation has the same kinds of effects. A key distinction inthe literature addressing the effects of automation on job content is between equipmentthat is designed with the goal of minimizing errors and reducing reliance on workers’discretion, and that which is aimed at enhancing and leveraging workers’ skills andabilities.Technology provides supporting tools for non-routine activities that require high levels ofskill and worker engagement. Software applications such as spreadsheets, word-processing, and sales-supporting technologies automate sets of tasks ranging from theroutine to the very complex, providing workers with the means to do higher-levelactivities more efficiently. On the one hand, to the extent that such technologies providetools for workers to do their jobs more effectively, effects on work-life balance comefrom possible increases in discretion, decreases in required time at work, and,particularly, in freeing work across time and space, a topic to which we turn below.Alternatives to command-and-control technologies, however, also create new threats towork-life integration, particularly where processes have been designed to be tightlycoupled and to minimize buffers. The elimination of redundancy in processes means thatevery worker’s role may be vital; the leaner the process, the more tightly linked its steps,the more difficult it is for workers to exercise the sorts of discretion that would take themaway from focus on their work tasks. The effects of these kinds of technologies on work-life integration thus depend especially heavily on the context in which they are deployed;for example, we would not expect individuals’ use of word-processing per se to havedirect effects on work-life integration.Technology and the redistribution of work across time and spaceWork Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 19
  20. 20. In terms of its potential impact on work-life integration, the most fundamental andprevalent change brought on by advances in information technology is arguably theredistribution of work across time and space. This occurs most notably throughteleworking, in which workers use information technologies including computers, e-mail,telephones, pagers, fax machines, modems and other networking devices—combinedwith servers that allow files to be accessed from and transmitted to remote locations—toperform some or all of their work at home (or in another location away from the mainoffice). Related advances include policies such as flexible scheduling, which have beenfacilitated through the implementation of technology that frees workers from a fixed,standardized schedule for the completion of their work tasks. Additionally, even whenemployees do not work from home for some portion of their regular work hours, theincreasingly pervasive use of communication and information technologies often bringswork into the home domain, particularly for information workers. Research suggests thatuse of portable information and communication technologies is associated with increasednegative spillover from work to family, even when controlling for occupation, workhours, and commuting time. Although estimates of the number of telecommuters in the U.S. vary due todefinitional differences, the numbers are clearly substantial, ranging from 10 million tonearly 30 million. According to the International Telecommuting Advisory Council(2002), 28 million Americans reported teleworking at least part time in 2001. This figureincludes people who work at home, at a telework center or satellite office, on the road, orsome combination of the above. Approximately one-fifth of working Americans reportworking some portion of their working hours at home (International TeleworkAssociation & Council, 2002). Under a more restrictive definition of telecommuters as“employees who engage in work at home on a regular basis two or more days per weekfor an outside company,” the Institute for the Study of Distributed Work provides thecurrent low-end estimate of 10.4 million telecommuters. Compared to non-teleworkers,teleworkers are significantly more likely to be from the Northeast and West, male, havehigher education and income, work in professional or managerial occupations, and beemployed in smaller and larger organizations. Telecommuting is pervasive across work organizations, with 37% of allemployers and the majority of the Fortune 1000 firms currently offering telecommutingto their employees. The occupational penetration of telecommuting is wide as well, withtelecommuters currently represented throughout the spectrum of jobs performed byinformation workers. Teleworking and other forms of redistribution of work outside the workplace andbeyond (or short of) the traditional working day are related to work-life integrationdifferently than are other workplace technological innovations. These, uniquely, may beimplemented by managers and workers who have as primary goals influence over thebalance between work and family life. With regard to teleworking, for example, earlyWork Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 20
  21. 21. views suggested it as a way to help women hold down jobs while managing their familyresponsibilities effectively, and teleworkers were stereotyped as women with youngchildren. Indeed, although telecommuting was initially conceived as a strategy to makefirms less vulnerable to fuel shortages during the OPEC oil crisis in the early to mid-1970s, most telework arrangements prior to the 1990s were established to accommodatethe family needs of individual employees. Seeking technological solutions to enhance work-life integration is not, however,the only force underlying telework arrangements. By the 1990s, more kinds ofteleworkers emerged and a number of organizational rationales for teleworking wereoffered, including reduction of real estate and labor costs, efforts to increase productivity,customer proximity, complementary with the required mobility of many client-focusedworkers, compliance with regulations such as the Clean Air Act and the Americans withDisabilities Act, and the desire to contract activities out to workers who are notemployees. Individuals, too, have a variety of reasons for telecommuting, includingincreasing their productivity, gaining greater control over the environment in which theywork, reducing the amount of time spent commuting and avoiding office politics, as wellas more effectively integrating the demands of work and family. However, it can bedifficult to distinguish between those who work remotely by choice, and those who do soinvoluntarily , as many companies have systematically moved certain groups of workersinto telecommuting programs. Teleworking is clearly associated with increased permeability of the boundarybetween work and non-work domains. The spatial, temporal, social, and psychologicalaspects of the work-non-work boundary are all affected by the movement of work intothe home. Physically, work and non-work activities now take place in the same location.Temporally, telecommuters often report interleaving work and family activities, forinstance, by occasionally performing housework or child care during the work day.Whereas the social roles that people occupy at work and at home are generally separatedin a post-industrial society, telecommuting causes these roles to overlap. Finally, themovement from home to work and vice-versa involves crossing a psychologicalboundary; this aspect is also changed when people work at home. Indeed, telecommutersoften develop rituals to facilitate crossing the role boundary from family to work,including such actions as putting on work clothes, reading the business section of thenewspaper, saying goodbye to the family before entering the home office, and taking filesand work implements out of cabinets . Nonetheless, work and family life are both moresusceptible to intrusions when they are carried on in the same location. Evidence on the impact of technology and telecommuting on aspects of work-lifeintegration is equivocal. In a series of studies of IBM employees in professionaloccupations, Hill and colleagues found that telecommuters reported higher levels ofwork-life balance and success at personal/family life than did employees who worked ina traditional office setting . Other studies indicate that work intrudes on and interferesWork Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 21
  22. 22. with the family and personal lives of telecommuters. Says one respondent inMirchandani’s study, “I was feeling very keenly a sense of intrusion into myhouse…couriers showing up, a telephone line ringing, a fax machine going in the middleof the night…this was not a pristine environment; I had sullied it.” The net effect ofbringing more work into the home may be to help individuals to integrate across differentspheres, while creating a work environment in the home that intrudes on family life. Itwas found that more extensive use of information technologies was associated with moreperceived control over managing work and family, but also with higher levels of work-family conflict. There are a number of contextual factors that affect the strength of therelationship between technology and work-life integration.3.3 Benefits of work life balance in mobile workMobile work can have significant benefits for organisations, employees and for thecommunity. These include: • improved attraction and retention of key staff; • more flexibility and better work life balance for employees; • reduced absenteeism; • greater job satisfaction; • increased trust between employers and employees; • reduced office space and car parking costs; • reduced travelling expenses (fuel, wear and tear on vehicle, fares) and environmental costs; • the organization being recognized as a good corporate citizen.3.4 Suitability for mobile workDefinable tasks which involve minimal face-to-face contact or are time specific are mostsuitable for being done at home. These may include:  research  computer design and programming  projects  policy writing  report writing  planning.3.5 Security in Mobile WorkWork equipment and intellectual property can be safeguarded through the followingsecurity measures:  authorization and security clearance of mobile employeesWork Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 22
  23. 23.  general physical security of employee’s homes  arrangements for the transportation and disposal of official documents and papers  directives for appropriate use of email and internet use  protection of home computers and their links  guidelines on access of family and friends to work materials  the appointment of an employer security supervisor  employees obligations to report security incidents3.6 Steps For Establishing a Mobile Environment  Consider suitability for (employees, duties, work site)  Assess expenses and cost effectiveness  Consider taxation requirements  Establish security measures for equipment and documentation  Consider insurance liability for mobile equipment  Consider occupational safety and health requirements  Consider workers compensation regulations  Develop performance control measures  Develop a procedure for review  Create written agreement or equivalent3.7 Some techniques of implementation of mobile workVirtual Private Network Fig:1 Virtual networksIn this technology, users can access their companies private networks via the internet in asecure manner using VPN tunnels.Work Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 23
  24. 24. Cloud Computing Fig:2 Cloud computingIn this technology the companies infrastructure is accessed can be accessed by laptops,mobile phones, tablets remotely. These devices purely act as thin clients showing onlythe display where as all the actions happen on the servers in the company.Mobile Usage scenario’s Fig:3 Mobile usageWork Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 24
  25. 25. As shown in the figure above the company network can be accessed both within thecompany premises and outside at various locations.3.8 The Changing Work Environment in IBM 1998 2010 Fig:4 chart Work Environment in IBMThe pie chart above shows the change in work environment in one of the biggesttechnology companies IBM. We can observer that percentage of home has increasedfrom o.4% to 8%, Similarly mobile workers ghave increade from 10.6% to 21%. Thisamply illustrates the trend in technology companies.3.9 Work Life Strategy• helps employees sustain peak performance on the job and enables organisations tobecomemore productive.• improves employee engagement – the higher employee engagement is, the more willingemployees are willing to go the extra mile to contribute to their organisation’s success.• improves attraction and retention of talent – this in turn leads to cost savings fromreducedlabour turnover.• reduces stress related to work and work-life conflicts, therefore leading to lowerhealth-related costs.• improves customer satisfaction indirectly (through happy employees) and directly(through more customer-friendly business processes).Work Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 25
  26. 26. 4. CASE STUDYCS:1. Do Mobile Technologies Enable Work-Life Balance? Dual Perspectives onBlackBerry Usage for Supplemental WorkIntroduction:This chapter explores the usage of mobile communication devices to supportsupplemental work. The ‘anytime, anywhere’ functionality of the devices providesenormous convenience for users, and is thought to enhance their work productivity, whilefacilitating work-life balance. But their always-on nature can lead to conflict when familymembers or others outside the users’ work environment feel that work is spilling overinto the users’ non-work life. Using texts from newspapers and magazines, the chapterinvestigates usage of a popular mobile device, the BlackBerry, from the perspectives ofusers’ families and friends, and of the users themselves. The contradictory interpretationsare striking. Indeed, the very acts that define balance for BlackBerry users are clearsignals of imbalance to those around them, resulting in strong opposition to the devicesamong non-users. Described as BlackBerry orphans (Rosman, 2006) and widows (Sokol,2006; von Hahn, 2004), non-users express ‘chagrin,’ ‘aggravation’ ‘disapproval,’ and‘ire’ about the use of the device in their homes (and elsewhere). The chapter shows howthe behaviours that users adopt to increase their work-life balance result in thematerialization of work, and taunt those in the non-work environment with ‘absentpresence.’ As` the usage of ‘mobile work extending technologies’ like BlackBerries isexpected to rise in the future, the chapter outlines questions that should be addressed tohelp reduce the potential for work-life conflict.Work, Mobile Technologies and Work-Life Balance:There is a vast literature on telecommuting and telework, which provides the foundationfor 2more recent studies on mobile work. ‘Telecommuting’ refers to a specificarrangement to work at home, reducing or eliminating the need to travel (commute) towork (Nilles, 1976). ‘Telework’ is used to describe “remote work [that] involves the useof information and communication technologies” (Sullivan, 2003, p. 159). Manyresearchers consider the terms telework and telecommuting synonymously (Ellison,1999). What is important in this context is that an explicit arrangement (voluntary orinvoluntary) is made between an employee and an employer that relocates some or all ofhis or her tasks to the home, from an office location(Felstead, Jewson, Phizacklea, &Walters, 2002; Fleetwood, 2007). These arrangements represent a substitution in thework environment, where employees give up some time in their offices and replace itwith time spent working at home (Kraut, 1989). But the mobile work behavioursdescribed here are not generally part of a formal, intentional relocation of work from oneenvironment to another. Employees are not giving up their office space, instead they areWork Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 26
  27. 27. extending their work environments to include spaces beyond the office. This is animportant distinction (Kossek, Lautsch, & Eaton, 2006), yet the supplemental nature ofsuch work practices is not always reflected in studies on location of work (e.g. Felstead,Jewson, & Walters, 2005; Hill, Ferris, & Martinson, 2003).Bailyn (1988) describes thisextension of work into home as ‘overflow,’ and notes that people have been bringingwork home from the office for many, many years. New technologies allow knowledgeworkers to access, edit and create files, communicate with colleagues or clients, searchfor information and conduct other tasks from many locations outside their offices. Brownand O’Hara (2003, p. 1575) observe that mobile work ‘makes place,’ rather than ‘takingplace,’ suggesting that any location can be made into a work place by virtue of the factthat someone chooses to work there. The portability of work, and of technologies, allowsemployees to carry out ‘supplemental work at home’ (Venkatesh & Vitalari, 1992) butalso extends the potential workplace to anywhere within the reach of mobile technology.In the past decade, supplemental work at home has given way to supplemental workanywhere.The practise of working anywhere could easily be described as mobile work.Hislop and Axtell (2007) point out that mobility is not considered in the existing teleworkliterature, but argue that mobile telework is becoming “an increasingly important form ofwork” (p. 35). Mobile teleworkers move between home, office and “locations beyondhome and office” (p. 46), which include client premises and places visited for businesstravel. However, Hislop and Axtell do not appear to identify these spaces as locations forsupplemental work. Other studies of mobile work (e. g. Brodt & Verburg, 2007; Brown& O’Hara, 2003) also exclude explicit discussion of mobile work conducted outsideusual working hours. Thus, while there are existing literatures on supplemental work athome, and on mobile work, it appears that there has been limited academic attention paidto date to the phenomenon of mobile technologies being adopted in ways that allowsupplemental work to move beyond the boundaries of home. One exception is Duxbury,Thomas, Towers and Higgins’s (2005) research on ‘work extension.’ Their definition ofwork extension recognizes that much work is now done outside office hours (anytime)and at multiple locations outside the office (anywhere). Thus, extended work issupplemental work, but the definition no longer limits the location of supplemental workto the home. Personal digital assistants (PDAs), laptop computers, mobile email devices(e.g. BlackBerries) and home PCs are all considered work extending technologies, andthe technologies are becoming more prevalent among managerial and professionalworkers (Towers, Duxbury, Higgins, & Thomas, 2006).As more people adopt extendedwork patterns, work is imposed on spaces and at times that 4were previously ‘work free,’thus increasing the potential for role conflict. Conflict between work and non-workenvironments is not new (Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985; Lewis, Gambles, & Rapoport,2007) and it is addressed by an extensive literature (see Edwards & Rothbard, 2000, for areview of key concepts). However, much previous work on ‘work-life’ or ‘work-family’balance in a telework environment (e.g. Golden, Veiga, & Simsek, 2006; Hill et al., 2003;Work Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 27
  28. 28. Madsen, 2003; Shumate & Fulk, 2004) does not reflect the pervasiveness or ubiquity ofmobile technologies, nor does it fully reflect the supplemental nature of work that isextending beyond office hours and office boundaries. When supplemental and mobilework convergence to create an anytime, anywhere, always-on work environment, thepotential for conflict and imbalance is exacerbated (Menzies, 2005). Balance meansdifferent things to different people, and the distinction between ‘work’ and ‘life’ isproblematic. The description of ‘family’ as being the core of life outside work is toonarrow (Ransome, 2007), while focusing on family alone as the key component to lifeoutside work excludes leisure and other non-family, non-work responsibilities (e.g.contribution to local communities) (Guest, 2002). For expediency however, in thischapter participants in the nonwork sphere of individuals’ lives are referred to as ‘friends’and ‘family,’ and the non-work sphere is simply referred to as ‘life.’In North America, the BlackBerry has become the device of choice for mobile email.First attracting public notice for providing communication in New York City onSeptember 11, 2001 after much of the telecommunications infrastructure failed (see forexample “Downtown BlackBerry E-Mail Repository”), the BlackBerry experienced slowbut steady growth in subscriptions for its first few years. By early 2004, there were morethan 1 million BlackBerry subscribers, and by mid-2005, 3 million people had subscribed(Research in Motion, 2004; Research in Motion, 2005) to this “iconic pocket-sized e-maildevice” (Economist Staff, 2005). A patent dispute in 2006 that threatened to shut downBlackBerry service caused much 7consternation among users as they faced the potentialloss of their devices (Parks, 2006; Smith, 2006). Although rare, disruptions in service areheadline news (e.g. Vascellaro, Yuan, Sharma, & Rhoads, 2007). As of late 2007, therewere more than 10.5 million subscribers (Research in Motion, 2007), with growthestimated at 1 million subscribers every three months (Sorensen, 2007). TheBlackBerry’s reputation, and continued success, rests upon its highly reliable, secure anduser-friendly email service – “It’s small and it works” (Estates Gazette Staff, 2005). Thedevice is a PDA and a mobile phone, and provides ‘push’ email functionality, deliveringmessages as they are received without the need for users to take action to connect to theinternet. In many countries, before even stepping off an airplane, travelers can send andreceive email effortlessly by just turning on their BlackBerries. This simple device hasbecome indispensable for legions of business users around the world. It allows people tocheck their email anywhere, and to respond to messages in an unobtrusive manner. It alsomakes it very easy for individuals to carry their work with them, and to engage in workactivities in locations and at times that were previously ‘off limits.’Work Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 28
  29. 29. BlackBerry Usage Data:The data that follow are drawn from popular press accounts of BlackBerry usage in thepast two years (2005-2007), as catalogued in the Factiva database. After a search on theterm 8‘BlackBerry’ yielded almost 60,000 ‘hits,’ the more restrictive term ‘Crackberry’was used. While this approach excluded relevant articles about BlackBerry usage that didnot mention the word Crackberry, it does provide a good sample of articles that addressthe tensions created as mobile technologies enable work to spill over into other aspects ofpeople’s lives. From a starting point of more than 1000 articles, a research team removedduplicates and irrelevant articles, resulting in a final compilation of just over 200 articlesthat discussed various aspects of BlackBerry (and other mobile device) usage inindividuals’ daily lives. The team then indexed the articlesin a bibliographic softwareprogram and exported the texts into a qualitative data analysis program for thematicanalysis using a semi-structured coding protocol. It might be argued that BlackBerryusage behaviours deemed newsworthy are extreme ones, and not representative of‘ordinary’ BlackBerry users going about their daily lives. But the vivid examplespresented here do show the conflicts inherent in adopting mobile technologies to extendsupplemental work practices, and provide a focal point for discussing the implications ofcontinued uptake of work extending technologies. While the results may not begeneralizable, the anecdotes provided here are consistent with descriptions of BlackBerryusage in a small scale study of Canadian BlackBerry users conducted in 2005 (Middleton& Cukier, 2006; Middleton, Scheepers, & Cukier, 2005), and provide insights into users’and non-users’ experiences of ‘mobile work extending technologies.’ In the sectionbelow, data are presented to show how BlackBerries are used for supplemental workaway from the office. Descriptions of how the devices enable work-life balance for theusers are provided, followed by evidence from non-users that offer a contrary perspectiveon the device’s role in balancing the work and non-work spheres.Location of UseBlackBerry users are described as “the ones hunched over like squirrels with a walnut,thumbs flying manically, even at weddings, funerals and the movies.” A “devoted” userreported using his BlackBerry during his wife’s stepfather’s funeral, a Congressman wasobserved spending “a great deal of time on his BlackBerry during [Ash Wednesday]service and prayer, both reading emails and sending emails.” Some users take theirBlackBerries into the shower (“keep[ing] it within view but dry”), and there are reports ofpeople who “accidentally dropped the device in the toilet.” One user described how he’d“fallen asleep with it in his hands, read it as he ate, watched TV, waited in line, and whileplaying soccer with [his] son.”In describing the factors that led up to his divorce, a man says “the thing that reallybrought it home to me was we were in an intimate moment in bed, and I lifted up myWork Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 29
  30. 30. head and I caught my wife checking her e-mail on the BlackBerry.” Not an isolatedincident, a doctor reported being asked by a patient “whether he thought it was abnormalthat her husband brings the BlackBerry to bed and lays it next to them while they makelove.” A woman describes a dream “about squirrels eating acorns. …And then I woke up,and it was my husband, the tap, tap, tap, tap on the BlackBerry.” A man reports thatBlackBerry is “the last thing I check before going to sleep and the first thing I touch inthe morning.” Some people even use it in the middle of the night, including one man whoregularly checked email while getting up in the night with his newborn daughter. Thereare many reports of drivers using BlackBerries (“It is actually scary to see people drivingin their cars receiving and sending e-mails”), and the devices also accompany their userson vacation. BlackBerries can be found on the golf course, poolside or at the beach. Aman took his BlackBerry to Maui for his 10th anniversary celebration, and another “wentto Disneyland last year accompanied by his wife, their two children and his BlackBerry.According to his wife, the BlackBerry drained much of the magic from the MagicKingdom.”User Perceptions of Work-Life BalanceBlackBerries provide their users with a ‘24/7’ connection to their offices, and there is astrong sentiment that the devices help provide balance in users’ lives. “I like to beconnected,” says a small business owner. “I don’t know what I would do without it. AndI’m much more likely to take vacation because of it. I have more work/life balancebecause I carry my Treo [a Palm Pilot product with similar functionality to theBlackBerry]; I feel less need to be in the office.” A lawyer describes how his BlackBerryallows him to “go places and do things and still stay on top of my work… keep[ing] tabson the office, while hanging out with his kids.” BlackBerries allow their users to beefficient, while spending time with friends and family – “If we’re standing in line for 40minutes waiting for a ride [at Disneyland], I don’t see why I can’t answer my e-mail,”says one user. When his son made the Little League all-star team, a man enthused that“the BlackBerry allowed me to go to the game and still deal with some realtime issues wehad in the office.” A 2006 survey by recruitment firm Korn/Ferry found that “More thanone-third of 2,300 executives surveyed in 75 countries believed they spent too much timeconnected to communications devices. But more than three-quarters, or 77 percent ofrespondents, said they believe mobile communication devices primarily enhance theirwork/life balance rather than impede it.”An Alternative Perspective on Work-Life BalanceMany people, especially friends and family of BlackBerry users, do not share the beliefthat BlackBerries create balance. This quote expresses a common sentiment – “She hatesthat he’s a BlackBerry fiend, especially when he argues that using it leaves more time forfamily.” The important people in users’ lives are not shy in expressing their opinionsWork Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 30
  31. 31. about BlackBerry use in their environments. While a four-year old expressed herdispleasure at her mother’s BlackBerry 12usage by simply hiding the device, her sevenyear old brother was more sophisticated in trying to flush it down a toilet. ImmersingBlackBerries in water seems to have broad appeal. “The winner of the British version ofThe Apprentice, a reality TV show, has admitted that his wife has threatened to flush hisBlackBerry down the toilet,” a threat repeated by other users’ spouses. One wife “wantedto pick it up and throw it into the swimming pool” (while on vacation) while another“tried to throw it off the boat when [they] were on [their] honeymoon.” The Alex comicstrip regularly captures the frustrations of BlackBerry users’ families, as seenbelow.Throwing the BlackBerry out a window was also suggested by an irate wife whofelt ignored by her husband. A husband remarked that he would not use his BlackBerry atChristmas, for fear of watching his “BlackBerry crackling away on the fire along with theYule log.”In some households, family members have adopted ‘rules of engagement’ for BlackBerryuse. This may mean a ban on using the BlackBerry on weekends, or a ban on use inrestaurants and the bedroom. Children help to discourage their parents’ BlackBerryusage, “begging” them to stop using it at the table. One woman was surprised when herdaughter “literally applauded her decision to leave her BlackBerry behind whenvacationing.” Nevertheless, some people continue to use their BlackBerries, even when itis very clear that such usage is not acceptable to others. Fearing discovery, users hidetheir devices from spouses or family members but insist their behaviours are justified.One user explains that “his BlackBerry actually alleviates maritaltension by allowing himto secretly check his email and get work done during vacations with his wife.” Anotherindividual reports that checking his BlackBerry on vacation (while hiding in thebathroom to do so) resulted in “A relaxed me, an unsuspecting girlfriend, a holidaysuccess.”Analysis:The data presented here show the pervasive usage of BlackBerries, and demonstrate theconflicting assessment of the value of such devices. BlackBerries do enable people to beConnected to their work from anywhere, at any time. This connectivity provides userswith great Comfort because it allows them to remain in contact with their jobs whileattending to other aspects of their lives. While there is no doubt that many users feelpressured to remain connected to work at all hours, with some organizational culturesreinforcing and validating this expectation (Middleton, 2007), users are adamant thattheir BlackBerries allow them freedom, and contribute to work-life balance by allowingthem to spend more time with friends and family. But their friends and family oftenresent the presence of the BlackBerry, seeing it as a means for users to extend their workinto spaces where work is not welcome. Rather than interpreting this as worklife balance,Work Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 31
  32. 32. friends and family view anytime, anywhere BlackBerry usage as always-on work. Ratherthan experiencing less conflict as a result of being able to better manage their work andlife commitments, BlackBerry users may face increased conflict, as their friends andfamily actively resist the device. BlackBerries have been successful because they can turnany place into a work place, which is exactly the reason why they are reviled by thosewho want to contain work within well-defined agreed upon boundaries.Clark’s (2000)work/family border theory (described earlier) offers some insights to help understand thedata presented above. Of interest in this chapter is the border crossing from the workdomain into the family (non-work) domain, where work-family spillover is possible. The14data show that when BlackBerry users cross from the work to the life (non-work)sphere they frequently bring their BlackBerries ‘over the border.’ They are met by theborder-keeper, usually a spouse or significant other, as well as other domain members(e.g. children). It is expected that upon crossing the border (which may be physical,temporal or psychological), “domain-relevant behavior” (Clark, 2000, p. 756) takesplace.Applying the concept of border crossing to the data presented above generatesinsights related to two themes. The first theme is described as the materialization of work,in which a specific artifact, the BlackBerry, permeates the work-life border to bring workinto what is understood to be a non-work environment. The second theme relates to theidea of ‘absent presence’ (Gergen, 2002), and can be seen here as a form of taunting.Given its visibility and popularity, the BlackBerry has garnered more attention than otherdevices, and it is likely a harbinger for more widespread uptake of mobile workextending technologies. It is suggested that the observations made here are not devicedependent, but apply wherever mobile technologies are adopted to facilitate anytime,anywhere supplementary work.Materialization of Work:Border theory suggests that there are acceptable behaviours for each sphere, and thatwhen a person crosses the border, he or she transitions to the norms of the sphere justentered. Ashforth, Kreiner and Fugate (2000) note that these crossings involve exitingone role and taking up another. The adoption of mobile technologies reduces thelikelihood that such role exit will actually occur when moving across the work-lifeborder, as the demands of the work role can continue to be met by using mobiletechnologies in the life sphere. As such, a BlackBerry can be understood as a very visiblemanifestation of work and of permeable work-life borders. When the device is takenacross the work-life border, it provides a clear indication that the user remains 15linkedto the work domain even though he or she is physically present in the non-work domain.Even if the user leaves the device turned off, its mere presence signals that work ispossible. Users argue that this provides them with the flexibility to attend to their non-work lives without neglecting work duties, but from the perspective of the domainmembers this materialization of work shows that users have not left the work domain.Work Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 32
  33. 33. Prior to the widespread adoption of mobile devices, it was easier to contain work withinphysical and temporal boundaries. While spillover of work into the non-work domain hasalways been a potential source of conflict, what has changed with the uptake of mobilework extending technologies is that temporal and physical boundaries are more easilybreached. It is easy to take a BlackBerry to a social event (dinner party, baseball game) orto check email while lying in bed or while sitting by the pool on vacation. Users viewsuch behaviours as freeing themselves from the physical constraints of the office, but fortheir friends and family, work is now visibly occupying times and spaces in the non-workdomain that were previously off-limits. The device that enables this extension of workacts as a ‘lightning rod,’ attracting attention to the presence of work. Despite users’ bestefforts to be discrete when using BlackBerries in ‘inappropriate’ settings, its presencedraws attention to work. Because it is so pervasive, and provides a persistent visualreminder that work has infiltrated the non-work domain, the BlackBerry has become anobvious target for criticism and a flashpoint for work-family conflict. The device maywell act as a proxy for broader dissent about differential expectations regarding work-lifebalance, increasing the intensity of resistance to the device and explaining why its veryappearance can provoke such ire and emotion from users’ friends and families.Absent Presence: How Mobile Devices Taunt Non-Users:Not only does the BlackBerry bring a visible manifestation of work into the home andother 16non-work environments, it can also psychologically remove users from the non-work environment and return them to a work mindset. As has been mentioned,BlackBerry users feel that the device allows them to balance work and life domains,because they can attend to work needs while outside the workplace. But althoughphysically present in the non-work domain, whenever users engage with theirBlackBerries, they are removing themselves from their present environment and focusingtheir attention elsewhere. Described by Gergen (2002) as ‘absent presence’ and byFortunati (2002) as ‘present absence’ this behaviour taunts those around the user byproviding the appearance of attention to, or participation in the non-work domain, whileactually remaining grounded in the work domain. Users pride themselves on the fact thattheir BlackBerries allow them to at ttend events and participate in activities that theywould have missed in the days before mobile technologies, yet arguably, they are stillmissing such events by engaging with their devices, rather than with their physicalenvironment. In the past, people with heavy work commitments would have met thesecommitments by staying at the office to complete the work, or by confining their work toa specific location within their non-work domain (e.g. a home office), and notparticipating in the non-work domain. BlackBerries allow the work to be done anywhere,satisfying users that they are achieving balance, but frustrating their friends and family bymaking it more obvious that work is spilling over into non-work times and spaces. Giventhe particular reactions that BlackBerry use in the non-work domain provokes, . In theWork Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 33
  34. 34. name of participating in activities with families and friends, BlackBerry users join thenon-work environment, and promote the appearance of being engaged with it, but can atany time ‘step out’ of the environment to return to work. From the perspective ofBlackBerry users, the guilt of missing an activity is removed or at least mitigated, butfrom the perspective of family and friends, it appears that the BlackBerry exacerbates theawareness of work-life imbalance.Discussion and Conclusions:The anecdotes of BlackBerry usage presented here show how actions that knowledgeworkers take to balance their work activities with their personal lives can result inconflict. By materializing work, mobile work extending technologies like BlackBerriescan become the centre of attention when used outside the office, and provide a focal pointfor discontent among friends and family members. Likewise, efforts at being present inthe non-work environment are not always met with approval. Although the workers makea special effort to engage with their friends and family by participating in events andactivities, the fact that they bring their BlackBerries with them triggers resentment.Rather than appreciating the worker’s presence in the non-work environment, attention isfocused on the absences created when the worker engages with his or her job through amobile device.It is likely that the workers do not fully understand their friends and familymembers’ disdain for their devices (and equally likely that friends and family do notunderstand the demanding nature of the work environment that does expect workers to beconnected and available outside business hours). Towers et al. (2006) found that heavyusers of work extending technologies believed that their families understood their need towork during family time, and although they recognized that heavy usage could beproblematic, individuals felt that they were doing a good job of controlling the extent towhich their technology use was spilling over into their personal lives. This justification ofindividual work practices indicates that workers believe their approach of combiningwork and non-work activities is both effective and appropriate. This approach to work-life balance is comparable to the ‘integrating the self’ repertoire identified by Golden andGessler (2007), in which PDA users explicitly used their devices to transcend, rather thancontain, work-life boundaries. Felstead and Jewson (2000) identify segregated andintegrated approaches to creating work-life boundaries. The integrated approach, whichwas adopted by the BlackBerry users described here, is based on weak temporal andspatial separation of work and non-work domains. In their study comparing differenttypes of mobile work, Hislop and Axtell (2007) showed that an integrated approachprovided less worklife balance than a segregated approach. This study provides no pointof comparison to determine whether a more segregated approach to BlackBerry adoptionwould have resulted in less work-life conflict, but it does show that the integratedapproach that was adopted did not sit well with friends and family. This is an interestingfinding, because one of the key affordances of mobile work extending technologies likeWork Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 34
  35. 35. BlackBerries is that they allow users to integrate their home and work lives, and tomaintain open boundaries between the two. This study suggests that while this works forthe BlackBerry users, it may not work for those around them. It is possible that the covertuses are a response to the shortcomings of an integrated approach, allowing individuals toavoid disapproval and conflict by reverting to absence and secrecy to conduct their workin non-work domains.BlackBerries and other mobile work extending technologies are still relatively new, and itis likely that the ways in which they are used will evolve over time. There is someevidence of users adopting more structured approaches to keep their work and personallives in balance (Jackson, 2007), but the usage patterns portrayed here are the dominantones at present. As noted earlier, for many users the appeal of the BlackBerry or othermobile devices is that they do enable anytime, anywhere work, functionality which hasbeen constructed by users as a means of controlling their busy, demanding lives andenhancing work-life balance. As such, it is expectedthat the usage patterns documentedhere and the conflict such usage engenders will continue. This raises a number ofquestions to be considered by those adopting mobile technologies to supportsupplemental work, and by researchers interested in the intersection of mobility andsupplemental work.• What are the longer-term implications of work-life conflict that is exacerbated by theadoption of mobile devices? Are there ways of mitigating the conflict? What actionscould be taken to achieve better fit between the users’ real needs to remain connected towork while away from the office, and the demands of their non-work environments? Canusers learn to temper their addict-like attention to their devices, while those around themaccept that some usage is necessary? Are there alternatives to covert use that meet theneeds of users and their friends and families?• What are the broader forces driving users’ compulsive attachment to mobile workextending technologies? Are the devices truly addictive, or do users exhibit signs of beingaddicted to their work? What can be learned from an extensive reading of the literatureon workaholism (see for example Burke, 2006; Kofodimos, 1993; Porter, 2006)? e.g. Dochoices that users make with respect to favouring their work domains over non-workones suggest deeper issues regarding their relationships with each domain?• What are the broader cultural and societal forces driving such behaviours? Why doorganizations support uses that can have negative impacts on their employees’ personallives (and potentially reduce overall productivity and effectiveness)? Why do employeesfeel such compulsion to remain connected to their offices and to work all the time? Towhat extent is supplemental work really necessary? This chapter contributes to ourunderstanding of technology enabled mobile work by providing insights into the usage ofmobile technologies to support supplemental work. By definition, supplemental workWork Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 35
  36. 36. occurs outside the office, and with the advent of ubiquitous, user friendly communicationdevices, it can be, and is, done from anywhere, at anytime. The chapter shows that claimsthat mobile technologies facilitate work-life balance are one-sided, and applies bordertheory to explain how current uses can increase work-life conflict by materializing workand taunting family and friends with absent presence. Given that the adoption of mobilework extending technologies is expected to increase, it is important that all those affectedby their usage consider how to make such usage more favourable to all. There are morequestions than answers at present. The convergence of supplemental work and mobiletechnologies raises complex issues that require much more nuanced analysis and a greatergrounding in the literature than can be provided within a single book chapter. Issues ofgender and power were not addressed here but must be considered. It is also important todetermine the extent to which individuals and organizations are willing to move towardan environment of always-on, anytime, anywhere work. What do people really want, andhow can they ensure that their needs are not subsumed by corporate agendas andunfettered, uncritical adoption of technologies? In 1988, Bailyn wrote that “Informationtechnology makes it possible to free work from the constraints of location and time” (p.149). Today the challenge is to free location and time from the constraints of work.Work Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 36
  37. 37. CS:2. Managing Mobile Work - Insights from European PracticeIntroductionThe success of organizations depends to a large extent on the effort and performance oftheir workforce. Knowledgeable, productive, and flexible employees contributesignificantly to firm competitiveness. In order to achieve flexibility, many companiesadopt ICTs that support mobility, context- and location-awareness, networking andambient interfaces. Mobile communication technology proves to be the most popularapplication with the most dynamic growth rates in the last decade. Better quality ( broadband connectivity and specialised mobile work solutions) and decreasingcosts, paved the way for the emergence of the so called mobile (tele-)worker in theworkforce of the European Union. The share of mobile (tele-)workers is already morethan 6% in Finland and over 5,5% for Germany.The introduction of new mobile work environments in practice, attracted the attention ofscientific researchers from various research disciplines, such as information systemsresearch, management research as well as social theory and architecture and design. Sofar, research on mobile work is in its early stages and definitions and concepts of mobilityare still emerging. Early work has focused on the geographical or spatial mobility ofworkers, which is criticised for being a too narrow focus. Andriessen and Vartiainenextended the concept of mobility to virtual mobility, which includes stationary actorsmoving "with the help of ICTs in a virtual working space". Kakihara and Sørensenpostulate three interrelated aspects of worker mobility: location mobility concerned withthe workers’ extensive geographical movement, operational mobility in relation toflexible operation as an independent unit of business, and interaction mobility associatedwith their intense and fluid interaction with a wide range of people. As such, aspects ofcollaboration can also widely change due to new qualities of ICT.Objectives :The objective is to provide a systematic and comparable overview of current mobile workpractice. Enablers and barriers for the adoption of these new innovative work practicesare discussed. The research takes on a user centric perspective, involving theorganisational decision makers and users of mobile work applications.Methodology :In-depth case studies were conducted. Whenever possible, we used triangulation tovalidate the interview outcomes by interviewing strategic level representatives, processowners and users. In order to compare the cases of researchers in the different countriesan interview guideline was developed on basis of our work environment benchmarkingframework .Work Life Balance Issues in Mobile Enabled Work Environment Page 37