Status versus Quality of Life: the Choice is Yours

June 29, 2014 at 6:55 AM

Recently I came across this article and it made me wonder (again) if we are living the wonderful lives we could be living:

Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)

Every once in a while someone will post a reminder on Facebook that we (in the developed countries with allegedly high living standards) should be grateful for the food, shelter and other necessities that we enjoy while so many people are dying of starvation or illness due to poor living conditions in other parts of the world. And in those moments we do acknowledge our privileged situation, but why isn't that our permanent state of mind? As this article points out, we seem to be trapped in a vicious cycle working more so we can earn more even when we already have enough, thus (almost) completely defying the whole purpose of working so we could have a better quality of life.

But what does this have to do with technology?

Well, we seem to believe that advanced communications and collaboration tools and other technology advancements (e.g., the Internet of things) are meant to help us work faster and smarter and thus have more free time and thus a better quality of life. But is that really happening? As far as I can tell--not really. Most of us end up working longer hours because now we are more connected and communications and collaboration tools and devices cost a lot less. Does emailing co-workers or customers during your kid's soccer game make this a quality time with your kid? Does working during your vacation only because you can make your life any better?

The truth is--advanced technology can indeed make our lives better. But we need to make a conscious choice to use them to that end.

Do you have any statistics on worker perceptions of whether advanced tools are improving their quality of life or in fact compelling them to work more? Please share if you do.

Tags: advanced technology, quality of life