Optimizing for the Always-on Culture

Work Balance.jpg

Excerpted by Nancy Cushing-Jones from

People First for Organizational Fitness published by the Myers-Briggs Company


For organizations, an always-on culture can be attractive. Why wait for information or decisions when we can contact the right people any time? Many CEOs see smartphones as a way to increase productivity, and the always-on culture appeals to multinationals where team members operate in different time zones. When communication is restricted to ‘regular’ working hours, it slows things down. Communication can spread across days.

Digital technology has revolutionized communication. Public, medical and customer services are available online 24/7, and we can connect with our families anytime, anywhere in the world. However, this connectivity also means that we can be contacted by our workplace anytime and anywhere, leaving many of us experiencing a blurring of the boundaries between work and home. It’s not all one-way traffic from employers, though. Individual employees invest in the always-on culture too. We know from our own research that people use technology to avoid unpleasant surprises or keep ahead of the game when they are not officially ‘at work’. Technology can even give the same buzz as drug use and many of our communication apps are designed to be addictive. When our smartphones are always on, we struggle to switch off. This is the ‘always-on’ culture.

Read more