Work-Life Fit is an Enterprise 2.0 Solution

by cv harquail on January 19, 2010

This headline could be puzzling…  What could possible make Work-Life Fit and Enterprise 2.0 relevant to each other? After all, one is a challenge of the modern workplace, and the other is a challenge to the modern workplace.

They come together because both concepts ask us to redesign our organizations.

Although Enterprise 2.0 and Work-Life Fit strategies do not share all of the same goals, the two initiatives are complementary. Both aim to help us manage an ‘always on’ environment, where resources are used efficiently and effectively, in ways that sustain rather than drain an organization’s capacity. But currently, only work-life fit strategies intend to make work life better for us people.

Quick overview: Enterprise 2.0

Enterprise 2.0 is technology-initiated organizational change centered on ’emergent social software programs’ that facilitate networked communication within and across organizations.  Enterprise 2.0 is conventionally and initially a technology-focused strategy, but it can (and should) encompass more.

201001191311.jpgLike all technological changes, Enterprise 2.0 will shape and be shaped by organizational culture and change. Even if your organization currently uses Enterprise 2.0 software and approaches in limited ways, chances are E2.0 technologies will permeate and reshape your organization and your work life sooner rather than later.

Enterprise 2.0 strategies start with tools to connect employees and make information gathering, sharing and using easier. Among many other benefits, Enterprise 2.0 approaches promise to make work more efficient by removing unnecessary barriers and building in flexibility so that resources move more fluidly to where they are needed, when they are needed. This should mean that better results are achieved with with less wasted effort and less effort overall.

The downside of this technology enabled flexibility reach is that the technology makes it convenient and normal to expect individuals to participate wherever and whenever they are ‘needed’, even when they are not at work. You probably already experience the incremental incursion of work technology into your non-work life.

Quick overview: Work-life Fit

Work-Life Fit is the strategic organizational initiative centered on building organizations that can adapt and respond to the changing needs and commitments of individual employees and members. You’ve been hearing about work-life fit since the dawn of the industrial revolution. You may have heard of it as work-family balance, or duel career dilemmas (highlighting the two most prominent forms of work-life misfit). The problems existed before the entry of women into management, but the increasing numbers of women managers and the feminist movement have worked together to raise our consciousness.

We now understand as we haven’t before how much the structure of our work organizations and the jobs within them precludes prevents us from staying authentic, present, and nourished in our lives outside work.

Put these ideas together

Work-Life Fit is a problem caused by how we design our organizations and the jobs within them. Enterprise 2.0 is a strategy about redesigning our organizations so that we use technology to improve how we work together.

So my recommendation is:
Let’s redesign organizations to maximize the potential of Enterprise 2.0 approaches. Let’s make organizations more networked. Let’s become more collaborative, more innovative and more flexible, in ways that let us find a healthy, authentic fit between work and the rest of life.

Let’s approach Enterprise 2.0 in a way that embraces the needs of the whole employee and the human organization so we no longer work in organizations that squeeze the life out of us.

Is there anything, really, that prevents us from doing both at once?

He squeezed into the hole in the…from Laura Mary on Flickr

{ 1 comment }

Cali Williams Yost January 19, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Woo, hoo!! Did I just read a powerful, cogent call to action? Count me in.

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