Monday, July 23rd, 2012

BURN (THE GUILT) AFTER READING

Excerpt from Forbes Publisher Rich Karlgaard’s prologue, taken from “The @Work State of Mind Project” – a joint effort of gyro, award-winning b2b agency, and Forbes Insights. To download the complete report go to www.gyro.com/atwork.

Three years ago I took up bicycling to stay in shape. I try to get in four rides a week—Saturday, Sunday and two more rides in the middle of the week.

The thing you try to avoid as a bike rider is a bad encounter with a car or truck. Simple physics tells you who will win that battle. Thus, for weekday bike riders, the safest hours to share the road with cars and trucks are those between late morning and early afternoon—10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The commuters are all at work. The high school drivers are still in school. The roads are as free as they’ll get.

At this point you may ask, what kind of serious working professional can take time to ride a bike—or chase fun of any kind—in the middle of the workday, in the middle of the week? Answer: Tens of millions of us. Smartphones and Wi-Fi have set us free.

The flipside of the freedom to play hooky in the middle of the week is obvious. You can’t get away from work. Not really. Not for more than a few hours at a time. Flying from San Francisco to New York, even in coach class, used to be a mini vacation. It meant six hours alone with the latest John Grisham. “Nobody can screw with me while I’m 35,000 feet over Nebraska,” I would happily think as I boarded the plane. Kiss those days goodbye. Try telling your boss that, sorry, I was out of email reach during my long flight. Doesn’t fly anymore, that excuse.

The @Work State of Mind is both a deeply researched and very personal look at how the always-on work style has changed our lives, for better and worse (but mostly for better). I couldn’t stop reading this report. Each page gave me a fresh insight into the biggest trend affecting the workplace and the minds of the new 24/7 professionals, who are figuring out their own seamless blend of work and non-work.

If nothing else, after reading “The @Work State of Mind,” you will lose the guilt over declaring your own independence. You will happily steal an hour to ride a bicycle or visit a friend in the middle of the weekday. Enjoy that freedom, and bestow it generously on your colleagues. The best and brightest will demand these new choices.

Just stay in touch, and remember to keep your Smartphone battery charged.

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