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OK I admit it; I don’t know Ruslan Kogan apart from the fact he is on the Forbes mega rich list and started his online company Kogan.com which by all accounts is doing rather nicely. But I do know I don’t want to work for him.
Plus, he would never employ me. I would be cut from the applicants list, first time round.

He apparently emails applicants at 9 pm at night and expects them to reply by midnight. He is seeking out those individuals who are constantly on the phone, checking emails and living in the cloud.

In a world that is always “on” and super-connected, it is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that’s what we have to do to keep up with everything, to stay super savvy and hip ubercool with what’s new and happening. If you notice your boss is sending out emails at 6 am, does that make you feel bad because you didn’t notice them until 7am? Are your work colleagues going in to work early “to get stuff done” or staying late because the boss hasn’t gone home yet.

Yes, work and life have become increasingly intertwined with more people attending to non-work activities while at work and taking work home. But there needs to be a line drawn in the sand of what is reasonable, and what is foolhardy.

Our brain is not a machine to be driven continuously at full speed. We have been designed to work in focused chunks of time following our body’s natural ultradian rhythm, which allows for periods of rest in between. Our brain needs down time to work at it’s best.

There is a reason why companies such as VW switch their company servers off between 7 pm and 7 am. It’s to stop employees doing work related activities out of hours. The research backs this up, showing that we are more productive when we work shorter hours.

Perhaps the question we need to ask ourselves is “what value do I provide by devoting my time to this work?” As Tony Schwartz from the Energy Project reminds us, that value is derived from the quality of the work we do, not it’s quantity.

Just like expanding foam, we can always expand our work to fill in the space provided. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we are doing our best work. It was Henry Ford who back in 1914 trimmed his employees work week from 6 days to five and shifts were shortened from 10 hours to 8. His claim was that this led to greater productivity and greater prosperity.

If someone suggests to you, that you are only worthy of being considered for a job because you are hooked up to your social media channels 24/7, please run, as fast as possible in the opposite direction.

Back to Tony Schwartz who said “We need a better way of working. It’s not about generating short-term superficial productivity gains by using fear as a motivator and then squeezing people to their limits. Rather, it depends on helping leaders to understand that more is not always better, and that rest, renewal, reflection and long-term perspectives are also critical to fueling value that lasts.”

Life is to be lived and enjoyed across all its domains, not just for the realm of work.

Rant complete. This rant was inspired by reading an article from Smart Company about the rise of the 24/7 workplace. There’s more too at BRW.

Are we moving towards a world where the “right” way is to expect to be available 24/7, and are we trying to run against the tide of how a high performance brain really likes to operate?

You know my thoughts: What are yours?

Dr Jenny Brockis

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and internationally board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, workplace health and wellbeing consultant, podcaster, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book 'Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life' (Wiley) is available online and at all good bookstores.

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