Finding Work/Life Balance – Weisure Time

From Charlotte Parent

For most working parents, hardly a day goes by when work and family don't overlap. You're at work hurrying to meet a deadline, and your kids call after school to ask where the peanut butter is. Or you're getting everyone ready for bed at night, and a colleague calls to make sure you'll be there for the meeting in the morning.

Now there's a new term to describe a parent's constant sense of being on call for both work and family: weisure, the combination of work and leisure. While it isn't a term that applies only to parents, it seems to be appropriate for those working parents who are struggling to find balance in their lives. Coined by sociologist Dalton Conley earlier this year, the media quickly picked up on it and began reporting how technology has changed our culture to the point where we're constantly on call. Checking in with work on the Blackberry while at the kids' soccer practice or viewing family photos on Facebook while at work, parents are finding that the dividing line between work and home is blurring.

There are some negatives to the all-access pass technology has given us. Websense Inc., an Internet and e-mail security firm in San Diego, reports that misuse of the Internet at work costs American corporations $178 billion annually. In addition to lost productivity at work, many employees find themselves checking e-mail and voice mail while on vacation. Employees are sacrificing private time away from the office and doing away with defined relaxation time.