Melissa Gregg’s, Work’s Intimacy, is an interesting read. The book is based on Gregg’s three year research on “technology’s impact on the workplace and home lives of employees in the information and communication spheres of the knowledge economy.” Gregg explains how “the new media” becomes so intimate with work that they put this at the heart of their lives.
The book depicts the lives of 26 interviewees from the academic world who deal with the daily balancing act of work and family. Some of the stories I was able to relate too, but they were very few. I have worked from home on occasion but only when I had a sick child. Being able to VPN, virtual private network into my desktop and using fundraising software has been a huge benefit several times. I am not disciplined enough, like Miranda, to move hours around in a day to do chores, and take my children here and there.
Part II of the book: Getting Intimate: Online Culture and the Rise of Social Networking, was more relatable to me. We are now a “hyperconnected” world and more willing to disclose more online than we would sitting with our spouse. The expectations of always being “on” is psychologically engrained in many professionals today. Part III of the book takes a deep look and Gregg argues that, “beyond the influences of management technology, or the wider economy, employees themselves appeared increasingly willing to engage in work beyond the office hours –often to the detriment of other intimate relationships.” (Gregg, 2001, p. 122). This is true and good observation.
Overall, Gregg research is bringing much needed light to the reality that “the new media” has been accepted by many but makes clear that it comes at a cost. Who knew the word “intimacy” would ever be connected to the workplace.
Gregg, Melissa. (2011). Work’s Intimacy. Malden, MA: Polity Press.