Exploring imbedded rhythms, that also effects the rhythms of ‘everyday life’.
2 Commercial Partners
2 Academic Researchers
For many workers and employees in the UK (as well as many other countries), instantaneous digital communication technology has created a sense that we are available anytime and anywhere. A recent study has shown that 83 percent of managers are regularly contacted by their employers out of working hours, and more than 75 percent of employees work regularly beyond their contracted hours (Clutterbuck, 2003). This trend is expected to rise in the context of an ever more efficient integration of ‘digital public space’ with our working and private lives. And while one could argue that this might have positive effects on the UK’s productivity, such as a prolonged working life, there are now concerns with regard to the long-term effects of not having a sustainable model for a ‘work-life balance’. Indeed, leading UK employers have now begun to recognize that this can have negative economic and social effects, and needs to be urgently addressed.
The above-described problematic is particular prevalent with more and more employees working remotely and flexibly. Traditional boundaries that defined and structured our working life, such as ‘time’ and ‘space’, have softened and sometimes even dissolved. Clutterbuck suggests that what is needed is a holistic model of tacking the problem at three levels; policy (setting the environment), capability (equipping people with the skills to create their own work-life balance), and culture (attitude of the support system). Yet, what is profoundly missing from this model is a better understanding of the economic ‘value’ and ‘impact’ of a well-balanced life as well as the ‘tools’ that allow an effective re-structuring of our life. This project aims to reflect on the historical notion of the sequentially-organised 8-8-8 hours a day (work, rest, play), to propose a more timely/flexible and less-linear model, and offer new ways of managing our individual life/work situations.
In this project we aim to develop a tool or service that combines self-tracking/sensing technology with a qualitative user interface/input in order to give clues about individual biorhythms, asking hereby, how using such data could act as a self-reflective tool to improve daily (work) life.