Net causes upheaval in work-life divide | india | Hindustan Times
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Net causes upheaval in work-life divide

You know of home delivery when it comes to pizzas. But can you imagine doing your banking on Facebook? The day has come — and with it come profound questions on work-life separation in the age of the always-on Internet. N Madhavan writes.

india Updated: Jan 08, 2012 21:46 IST
N Madhavan

You know of home delivery when it comes to pizzas. But can you imagine doing your banking on Facebook? The day has come — and with it come profound questions on work-life separation in the age of the always-on Internet.

ICICI Bank has announced that it will soon have a “You Bank” application (app) on its Facebook page. Its officials say the app will help customers access their bank info without leaving the social networking site, adding a convenience feature on the assumption that customers spend a lot of time on Facebook.

Facebook, by allowing third-party apps, is also a hunting ground for headhunters or job-seekers. While LinkedIn has the reputation of being a prim-and-proper professional networking site, its rivals are taking the app route to challenge it.

“LinkedIn likes to say, ‘Facebook is for fun and LinkedIn is for professional purposes.’ What I like to argue is that’s no longer correct,” the New York Times quotes Rick Marini, the chief executive of BranchOut, LinkedIn’s rival, as saying.

BranchOut pulls information from Facebook about users’ education, current employer and job title, leaving out everything else.

On the other side, it is common for knowledge workers to do work out of home, either through office websites or e-mail, often with office-provided laptops. Accentuating this trend is the fact that new handphones other than the corporate toy, BlackBerry, can also be enabled for office e-mail.

An even hotter trend is the rise of the BYOD — Bring Your Own Device — policy.

With Apple’s iPad and iPhone and Google’s rival Android devices becoming popular among employees, companies that include consultancies and investment banks have been using a strategy that allows employees to bring their own devices to work. These are linked to corporate networks.

Employers have been using employee referrals and BYOD policies to cut costs, while employees do some personal work such as banking at their workplace.

All these point to the growing blurring of the personal and professional work space and time. Control-freak employers have been worried about the drain of office-time while others believe the smartest employees are those that are hot on social networks, with the right contacts and intelligence. Whatever the detail, it is quite clear that the Internet is causing a profound cultural change.