There's a lot of pressure these days to be on, and there are some real, legitimate external factors for people, whether it’s the client might call or the customer might need something or you’re a manager and you manage across time zones.
The "always-on" work culture, says Leslie Perlow, drains morale and initiative, and scatters employees’ mental resources, making it difficult for them to take ownership of projects and prioritize their efforts. But changing it requires collective effort.
Leslie Perlow is the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership at the Harvard Business School. Her goal is to identify ways organizations can alter their work practices to benefit both productivity and employees’ well-being. She works closely with organizations to implement these changes – and study their impact. Trained as an ethnographer, she is a keen observer of the micro-dynamics of work – how people spend their time and with whom they interact – and the consequences for organizations and individuals.
Perlow is the author of two previous books, Finding Time: How Corporations, Individuals and Families Can Benefit from New Work Practices (1997) and When You Say Yes But Mean No: How Silencing Conflict Wrecks Relationships and Companies… and What You Can Do about It (2003). She has also published numerous articles in journals including Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, and the Harvard Business Review. Prior to her academic career, she worked as a management consultant with Corporate Decisions, Inc. She graduated from Princeton University with a degree in economics and received her Ph.D. in Organization Studies from MIT. Perlow lives in Newton, Mass. with her husband and their three young daughters, who serve as a daily reminder of all that is involved in successfully integrating work and family.