Work 365 Days a Year, Microsoft? Really??

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Microsoft recently announced that its newest version of its productivity software, the Microsoft Office Suite, will be named Microsoft Office 365. I’m going to venture a guess that the 365 doesn’t refer to the price of the software but instead to this idea that it will be there, working alongside you – no, working for you – every day of the year. Microsoft’s crack marketing team has finally just come out and said what many companies seem to expect of their employees already these days. Forget about your family, your hobbies or your interests, forget about it all and get back to work already – 365 days a year!

I can imagine the Microsoft Office 365 spreadsheet software will replace the template for 9 to 5 work schedules with one from 5 to 9. Before I dig into this new 365 day work schedule I want to take a moment to say thank you to Microsoft for their honesty about how they think we should all be spending our time.

While I admit that it’s absurd to think that our employers are going to expect us to work every day of the year I also don’t think it’s out of the question. The fact that a major corporation like Microsoft green-lighted a marketing campaign for a product that’s very name implies we should be working every day suggests to me that our culture is, for some crazy reason, accepting of the notion that working 365 days a year is a positive vision of the future.

Really?!

Just consider some facts. According to international statistics the United States is near the top of industrialized countries whose workers don’t use the vacation time given to them. Similarly, our average number of hours worked daily is increasing. Smart phones and internet access mean you can only hide from that client or your boss so long – the whole time your thinking, “What’s going to happen if I don’t respond?”

But is it really a problem? Some politicians certainly don’t think so. They advocate that we crush what remains of the labor union movement in the US, and a lot of workers support that idea. They believe we’d be better off if we get rid of the organization whose motto’s are, “We made the middle class” and “The people who brought you the weekend”.

While many people and politicians deride unions as being past their useful life I argue that now, more than ever, we need workers to unite to restore that delicate life balance. The cost of doing business shouldn’t be the living of one’s life.

The Declaration of Independence famously proclaims the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Today I declare my independence from Office 365 so that I might exercise my liberty to live life in the pursuit of my, and my family’s, happiness. Andrew Miller hosts the blog Elephants on Bicycles

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