We just want flexibility

In an article about the happiness of telecommuters versus those of us who have to go into the office, Techdirt makes a great point:

Whether or not your desk sits in your house, at the office, or both, it is not the location of the desk that is important, but rather the flexibility to choose when and where you sit.

Whenever I interviewed for a job I always made it clear that flexibility was important to me. For me, my family and health is more important to me than any job – which means that I want to be able to go to the doctor without taking sick time – or leave work early once in a while because my husband needs me at home. I’m not asking for a free pass – just flexibility to work extra hours one day to make up for hours I need to take for family and health other days. I’ve been lucky in this respect – but I can imagine how those who haven’t might be bitter about those who get to telecommute.

Although studies have shown that telecommuters are happier and less stressed, the happiness actually comes not from the telecommuting itself, but from the higher flexibility and autonomy afforded by telecommuting policies. By not chaining workers to a desk for 8 hours a day (which has also been shown to stifle productivity), employees are afforded the flexibility they need to mold their job around their busy lives, and not the other way around.

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Moving On…

The news is out! I have been offered (and accepted) the position of Open Source Evangelist at LibLime. It seems like only yesterday I joined the staff at the Princeton Theological Seminary, but you never know when fate is going to step in. I’m going to miss working with the amazing people at the Seminary library – some of whom have taught me so very very much, but I’m also excited about this move and can’t wait to get started in teaching librarians about open source!

I’ll keep you all posted – for now, I start work on the 4th of February.

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So – it turns out that I missed a few studies that have found that multi-tasking is actually counter-productive. I always thought that being able to do multple things at once lead to more productivity – but after I posted the link to Jarina’s article, I got some links sent to me about how multi-tasking actually leads to less productivity.

From 43 Things a quote from the NY Times:

In a recent study, a group of Microsoft workers took, on average, 15 minutes to return to serious mental tasks, like writing reports or computer code, after responding to incoming e-mail or instant messages. They strayed off to reply to other messages or browse news, sports or entertainment Web sites.

From Overcoming Laziness:

You see, humans are terrible at doing more than one thing at a time, even though most of us think we're good at it. But when we multitask, two things happen:
1. We get less done.
2. The quality of what we do is lower.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Multitasking, a term cribbed from computers, is an information age creed that, while almost universally sworn by, is more rooted in blind faith than fact. It’s the wellspring of office gaffes, as well as the stock answer to how we do more with less when in fact we’re usually doing less with more. What now passes for multitasking was once called not paying attention.

So… I guess the fact that I’m a habitual multi-tasker means that I’m not really paying attention… I’m not sure how to respond. I feel like I’m productive – people are always surprised that I can manage as much as I can – so is what I’m doing something other than traditional multi-tasking?

Something to think about as I write this post and watch Law & Order … which I’m going to give my attention to now :)

Transitions in Librarianship: Survey

Via Autocat:

Greetings! I am working on a research article for ALA-NMRT’s Footnotes about transitions in librarianship. If you have made a significant career change during your first decade of professional service, then please take several minutes to complete this survey.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me.

Thanks so much for considering!

I think this is an interesting idea – especially for me since I did just make a major change in my area of librarianship. I can’t wait to see the results. If you’ve made a change, it’s a pretty quick & easy survey to fill out.