Posted by: Craig Mathias
mobile communications, work/life balance, workstyles
I remember many years ago having a conversation with an early BlackBerry user (I was personally using at the time the predecessor to the BlackBerry myself, a RIM 957) who referred to his device as an “electronic leash”. Indeed, the social status associated with e-mail and messaging devices flipped shortly after this time, early pagers being associated with blue-collar tasks, kind of the way the typewriters and keyboard (and even computers) were associated with clerical tasks. But it soon became apparent that anyone who didn’t have a mobile messaging device was out of the loop, too unimportant to be included in key corporate communications. The backlash occurred because said communications could literally take place anytime, anywhere, leading to all kinds of questions about when the workday ended and personal time began – and subsequently to the rise of term “work/life balance”. Know the saying “be careful what you wish for – you just might get it”? Or perhaps something about the law of unintended consequences?
Any SMB owner knows that there is no such thing as work time or personal time or work/life balance. A fellow entrepreneur told me many years ago that our lifestyle offers amazing flexibility, allowing us to work any 80 hours a week we want. How true! But that still doesn’t mean one needs to work all the time. Unless, of course, like me you’re a workaholic, and I say that in a good way. Really loving one’s work is a privilege, and one I wholeheartedly enjoy.
So I still have the problem of knowing when to hit that off button. Such goes hand in hand with knowing what projects to take on, and what strategies to use in completing those projects – life itself, after all, is 24/7. We’ve always had a policy here at Farpoint Group of making ourselves available to our clients on their terms, not ours. Need us a teleconference to South Africa at 2:00 EST in the morning? Done it. A conference call with clients in Hong Kong on a Sunday night? No problem. But I’m not wedded to any of my mobile devices. I seldom receive calls on my cell phone. I don’t use push e-mail. Reaching me on a moment’s notice, then, is often difficult. That’s my personal workstyle. I don’t need to feel I’m constantly in touch to be in touch. And I do turn my handsets off at night.
If you need to reach me, try my office phone or my e-mail address. Just give me a little advance notice. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can – which is usually pretty soon.