Work and personal lives used to be separate, but no longer. That’s the broad conclusion of a study that was jointly conducted by ad shop Gyro and publisher Forbes.
The survey polled nearly 550 business managers in February in the U.S. and Europe to gain insight into the increasingly overlapping worlds of work time and personal lives brought about by digital technology. Dozens of qualitative interviews were also conducted as part of the study.
According to the survey, the business and personal worlds of most managers have merged into one. Only 15% of those surveyed said they struggle to separate their personal from their work lives, while 98% indicated that they deal with work issues via email outside of the “normal” 9-to-5 work week. On the flip side, 98% also said they spend time on personal matters at the office, with over 40% indicating they spend more than 10% of their office time on such matters.
But the survey also found that most of the respondents (73%) believe work-related spillover into personal time isn’t a bad thing; it allows more time to think about business decisions. And 59% said they make better business decisions as a result.
“Our research challenges the perception that people are unable to juggle busy working lives with personal time,” stated Gyro CEO and Chief Creative Officer Christoph Becker.
“Nine-to-five thinking is a thing of the past,” Becker added. “And this must be reflected in how brands advertise with their customers and clients.”
Agency president Rick Segal added that technology, along with a 24/7 global economy, have “eliminated the boundaries of time and space that once defined the workplace.”
The study did find differences between how Americans perceive the changes versus Europeans, with the latter tending to view work encroachment on personal time more negatively. Thirty percent of the European respondents said they felt irritated by the blending of work and personal time, compared with 19% of Americans.
Social networks have also had a mahjor impact on business activity, per the study. About two-thirds of the respondents said that work-related social networks (LinkedIn being one example) now play “a significant role in business.” In fact, Harold Blimblick, one of the interviewees, and senior vice president of strategy and business development at Penton Media, predicted that “highly focused tablet/smartphone apps with closed social media built in will replace email.”
The study concludes that the challenge for marketers trying to communicate with decision-making managers who are “on” regardless of time or location is to “understand their motivations, emotional attitudes and levels of satisfaction with round-the-clock, all-device messaging.”
Editor's note: The Penton Media SVP is Warren Blimblick, not Harold.