Technology is a major contributor to the blurring and the almost extinction of the physical borders and boundaries that once defined workplaces. The shifting of the global workforces from physical labour to knowledge and information based work can be seen to be a result of the growing digitalisation and interconnectedness of the world (Bradwell & Reeves 2008). This digitalisation leads to the concept of ‘liquid labour’ and the pressure that many professionals, students and workers feel to be in a constant state of readiness. By its very nature liquid labour flows around and through any physical borders of an office.
“Machines can be shut down, information just flows”(Mitew, 2014).
As human beings we often find it hard to switch off from work and technology especially when mobile devices make it ever so easy to instantly respond. Whilst advances in technology and information systems have created this ‘liquid labour’ it is our relationship with technology that allows for “presence bleed”(Gregg) and our constant state of readiness.
The constant barrage and flow of alerts and notifications from our smartphones, tablets, laptops and even Smartwatchs can lead to information overload, lack of focus and stress.
Striking a balance between work and life is a need that every human shares, but finding this balance is becoming impossible to find. We all need to ‘Look Up‘ every once and a while to see the world we may be missing out on. A purposeful and deliberate disconnection from technology is a crucial step in preventing a personal disconnection with life outside work.
Bradwell, P., and Reeves, R. (2008) Economies. In Networked Citizens (pp. 25-31) Accessed 22 August 2014.
Gregg, M, ‘Function Creep: Communication Technologies and Anticipatory Labour in the information workplace’,
Mitew, T 2014, ‘Liquid labour: global media industries and the costs of immaterial production’, lecture, DIGC202, University of Wollongong, viewed 19th August 2014.