One of the overarching research questions that we are trying to pursue here, at the Centre for Transformative Work Design is “Why poorly designed jobs continue to be prevalent, despite all the strong evidence we have about their negative outcomes for both employees and organisations?”
A recent opinion piece in New York Times hints towards one possible answer by highlighting the rebranding of poorly balanced work as a desirable lifestyle choice in certain industries. The article focuses on the highly competitive Silicon Valley and its culture of extreme workaholism, where “employees celebrate their own exploitation”.
The author describes this culture as a “commando lifestyle”, with extreme working hours (at least 18 hours per day) and focused solely on work with an aim to demonstrate full commitment and team spirit. Started in tech entrepreneurial circles, this culture is slowly seen to spread across other jobs and fields, casting a serious shadow on our hopes for better work in the near future.
Fortunately, the article also highlights the evidence around the pointlessness of such a working style as well as more successful approaches to work. However, the author is still pessimistic about what the future of working in tech, and not only, might entail.
For reading the full article, click here.