As I mentioned in my earlier posting on leisure in the I-Cubed Economy, the balance between work and non-work activities is constantly shifting as the two blend and separate. A recent Economist special report on the “Work-life balance: Life beyond pay” underscores the driving force behind the issue:
To some extent, the proliferation of work-life-balance schemes is a function of today’s labour market. Companies in knowledge-based industries worry about the shortage of skills and how they are going to persuade talented people to work for them.
Numerous people (Richard Florida, Dan Pink etc. etc.) have pointed out that creative and knowledge work is different from the traditional 9 to 5 industrial schedule. In many ways, it is more of a throwback to the agricultural era’s farm-life where work and leisure were interrelated.
We still haven’t figured out the best way to manage that integration. Nor have our labor force policies caught up with the shift. But as the Economist article describes, the bottom line is clear:
For some time to come, talented people in the West will demand more from employers, and clever employers will create new gewgaws to entice them to join. Those employers should note that for a growing number of these workers the most appealing gewgaw of all is the freedom to work as and when they please.
How we do that is the challenge of the I-Cubed Economy.