The traditional lines between work and leisure have blurred significantly in recent years, forcing businesses and individuals to reevaluate the nine-to-five workday. In lieu of the stereotypical officedrudgery, work invades leisure time and leisure time invades work. The phenomenon has been called “weisure time” by sociologist Dalton Conley, and the concept represents the next step in the evolving balance between adults’ personal and professional spheres.
In part, one reason for weisure time comes from the simple fact that people work more than ever before. As such, people keep in touch with colleagues and business associates while hanging out with their families on the weekends. Yet a lot of work relies on creativity and valuable input these days, which means employees keep in touch out of obligation and desire. In short, people enjoy their jobs more, and so tend to be increasingly willing to mix both sides of their lives.
The computer and social networks also play a significant role in weisure time too. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media services coax people to stay connected during business hours. Social technology stimulates a pleasure response in people’s brains, so people crave the connections with friends. It makes the business day move much faster. What’s more, it encourages people to maintain connections with their colleagues during off time.
At some point, explains Conley, there could be a backlash, simply because there is much less time to relax. Although people see weisure time as a solution at present, they may not always be willing to mix the personal and professional. At the moment, though, the mantra “work, work, work” fuelsthe need for weisure time.
Warm Up: Do you agree or disagree? Why?
- I work too much.
- People work more now than ever before.
- I regularly exchange business emails and phone calls on the weekend.
- I regularly send private emails and use social media sites like Facebook at work.
- I love my job.