Redefining the way we work has become popular during the last ten years of technological boom. We live in a gadget-saturated society, where going to work can take on a whole new meaning, and people from all fields are taking advantage of what's available. A new type of worker in this new economy is emerging.
Dot-commer Aaron Cohen juggles his time between sharing the responsibilities of being a new father and running Concrete Incorporated as its CEO. At 8:30 a.m., Aaron is watching over his newborn son while sending e-mail on his laptop. His experience is not unique among young parents who, in the 21st century, are finding that technology can lighten a big burden. According to Aaron, "the lines between professional and personal life have clearly been blurred, and I think if you want to be happy, you have to figure out how to manage your time constructively, and create some life rules."
Clarence Nurse knows all about managing time constructively. He is a Consulting Services Engineer at Cisco Systems who splits his time between his at-home office and clients on the road. For someone like Clarence, working at home isn't so bad; boredom doesn't come easily with all the souped-up gadgets at his disposal. Telecommuting support, provided by his company, includes two computers, a Palm Pilot VX, a high speed Internet connection, a Webcam, a cell phone, and a two-way pager. That's not too shabby, but is it a precursor to procrastination? Not for Clarence, "I'm working right away. The down side, some people may say, is that I work really long hours. But to me it's not a big deal, because I'm totally comfortable." Between online demos, telephone meetings with a Webcam, and consulting, Clarence does his laundry or goes to the gym; it's "just one of the perks of working at home," he asserts happily.
Home is the key word for Barbara Camhi-Mlawer, who, without exception, leaves work daily at 2:30 p.m. Her job, as the editor for the recently launched LIgardening.com, is critical, but being home when her kids finish school is her priority. "It's much more stressful, but in the end, I think it's going to pay off royally. I like being home for my kids. I like being home for my family," says Barbara. When the kids go to bed, Barbara heads for her home office to wrap up for the day. "My team knows they can contact me at any time. I think the technology has made a tremendous improvement for being able to work from home."
For these three professionals, technology has created a new, alternative approach to traditional work habits. Each one utilizes technology a bit differently to meet personal needs, and, at the end of the equation, there is a new definition of work. As Aaron expressed, "There's an always-on kind of culture now, and I think that's the reality."