What to Do When the Office Follows You Home
Gil Gordon's book, Turn It Off: How to Unplug from the Anytime-Anywhere Office Without Disconnecting Your Career, has arrived to help us de-escalate from the rising stress of the "anytime-anywhere" office, and turn the flexible workplace into a useful and productive means to work - without derailing our personal lives along the way.
Finding Professional Freedom
Gordon has lined up nine chapters to help mobile-office workers find professional freedom in an age when electronics allows us to work longer than our bodies and personal lives can manage.
The first chapter, for example, is titled "How Did We Become So Attached to Our Offices?" Gordon urges you to understand the role technology plays in your life and determine if it is helping or hurting. Decide where and how you want to divide your life between work and personal time, and develop a personal plan that allows you to use technology while cooperating with clients, managers and co-workers.
In the next chapter, Gordon shows, "How to Find Out if You've Gone over the Line." Setting limits is the first step to regaining happiness after endless workweeks begin to infringe on our ability to lead healthy lives. "Our challenge is to make sure that we really are being liberated, not enslaved by [laptops, cell phones, personal digital assistants and Internet access]," he writes. Several exercises help you decide if too much of your work is "spilling over into your personal life."
Other chapters include, "How to Approach, Inform and Get Support from Your Boss, Clients or Co-Workers," "What to Do if You're the Boss" and "What to Do if You Just Can't 'Turn It Off.'"
The Three Zones
To turn it off, Gordon introduces the "Three Zones" model for balancing life and work. "Think about the workweek in a new way," he explains, "by dividing your days and weeks into periods of time when you're completely on the job, completely off the job, and somewhere in between." You then decide when you are "off-duty," "on-duty" and available for "mid-duty." Gordon stresses that filling out a chart representing these three zones will help you organize your life and allow others to conform their needs and expectations to yours. Following these charts to the minute is less important than using them as goals for which to strive.
Gordon takes into account the many facets that have brought us to a point in history where electronic devices give us more choices and opportunities to work outside the office, and offers solutions to problems which will continue to grow in the future. His charts, tips and scenarios are clear and helpful, and his focus remains realistic throughout his efforts to make professional work livable and personal life workable.