Good evening! It is evening for both Doug and I right now… I hope you’re doing well, and if you’re a student or faculty or staff or anyone else involved in higher ed… that the end of the semester is treating you well. In that spirit, sort of, we bring you an episode devoted to something that Matt has historically not been awesome at…
It’s great when there’s always things to get better at! Podcasting, for instance…
I’m grateful for the chance to think about this topic this week…
The work-life balance has been a challenge for me over the years! And these days, it’s a different kind of challenge.
As I write this, the air outside is clear and cold. I’m in a modest apartment in a modest part of town. Every day lately I murmur a prayer of gratitude to the universe for my boys… our health… the roof over our heads…
*Note: This is Matt 16 hours after the preceding was written… Camtasia was challenging this week for some reason… and he’s still not totally happy with it…
The Ignace’s book resides next to my desk. You have to go past it if you go in or out of the apartment. It has two pens propped inside of it… lots of dogearing and marginalia…
I consider it a reference work that I will continue to dip into… for as long as I am in Kamloops… and probably longer…
And I continue to enjoy Metaphors in Ed Tech… I would be unaware of this book, probably, unemployed as I am… but for this podcast. So… both intended and unintended benefits…
We were meant to go to a hockey game this evening, but the older boy has a stomach ache… and it is dark and cold out there, and it is warm and bright here… you might say it’s a clean, well-lighted place up in here… so… I am taking great enjoyment from having us all together one night that they’re normally at their mom’s… I’m happy to grab any extra time with them whenever I can…
I’ve also tried to improve my cognitive life… and, in tandem, my capacity as an educator… writer… dad… and human being… by making a concentrated, purposeful effort to improve my sleep. The Sleep Solution is also close by at all times lately…. with lots of notes…
Oh, and here’s a link to that short story I was talking about with Doug… “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream” by Harlan Ellison… warning… it is pretty intense literary art…
Thanks to anybody who is taking an interest in what we are doing. We appreciate it!
Tech and a balanced life in Education
We now have terms such as ‘work extensification’ and ‘work intensification’.
Metaphors such as invasion and intrusion are applicable to e-technologies inasmuch as these terms speak to the tension in many academics’ homes… There is a strong need to establish boundaries to separate work and family life. Most felt that having e-technologies at home was of benefit to their work, but they came at a cost to their family life — delivering a blessing and a curse.
Currie, J., & Eveline, J. (2011). E-technology and work/life balance for academics with young children. Higher Education, 62(4), 533-550.
The most notable benefits are:
- The potential for 24×7 uninterrupted connectivity to human as well as information resources
- Increased flexibility
- Improved coordination
- Increased productivity through flexibility in time management
- Pleasure and enjoyment
- Availability of multiple media and genres of communication suited for different scenarios.
- Acknowledge that Individuals Perceive the Relationship Between Work and Life Very Differently
- Universal Strategies for the Use of Mobile Technologies are Unlikely to be Effective
- Strategies to Meet the Organization’s Overall Mobility Goals Should Cause Minimal Work-Life Conflict for Individual Employees
- Mobile Technologies Should be Implemented Consistent with Knowledge Workers’ WLB Perspectives
- Effective Management of Mobile Technology Usage Requires the Entire Organization to Work Together
- WLB-related Strategies and Suggestions Should be Applied with Caution
Sarker, S., Sarker, S., Xiao, X., & Ahuja, M. (2012). Managing employees’ use of mobile technologies to minimize work-life balance impacts.
The findings underscore the important role of Mobile Information Technology Devices (MITD) in terms of the attainment of flexibility (how, where, and when work is done), which is significant for achieving Work Life Balance (WLB). However, the use of MITDs has blurred the division between work and non-work domains. This has inadvertently lengthened employees’ working hours, has affected their family relationships, and affected their general health and wellbeing. The evidence suggests that MITDs have the potential to improve WLB but could also lead to work-life conflict if not properly managed.
Adisa, T. A., Gbadamosi, G., & Osabutey, E. L. (2017). What happened to the border? The role of mobile information technology devices on employees’ work-life balance. Personnel Review, 46(8), 1651-1671.
Depends on the culture
Academia as a ‘greedy workplace’
German interviewees described an excellent researcher as a person who embodied the ideal type of scientist with full-time devotion and no other obligations, early achievements, full identification with science, and geographical mobility.
Excellent researchers need a life outside research
In Sweden, most interviewees talked about the importance of having a life outside research, be it family or other interests. Even though there was a notable minority with the opinion that excellent research needed total commitment, the general opinion among researchers, both male and female and at all career stages, was that a reasonable work-life balance was desirable, even if difficult to achieve.
Salminen-Karlsson, M., Wolffram, A., & Almgren, N. (2018). Excellence, masculinity and work-life balance in academia: Voices from researchers in Germany and Sweden. International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology, 10(1), 52-71.