Last week a significant new report was published by the Industrial Societywhich examines the role of women in the dotcom revolution. Here, its author Helen Wilkinson presents anextract which aims to redress the work-life balanceThe new economy has foreshadowed a revolution in new ways of working. But oncloser examination, revolution often looks more like evolution. Change has beenslower in coming than many people might have hoped for. Indeed, there is even adanger that the new economy is intensifying conflict between work and homerather than relieving it. These cultural issues will need to be resolved if we are to delivere-quality. Technology creates the potential for a greater integration betweenwork and life than ever before. But in practice, this has been experienced bothas an intensification of work pressure, and of time squeeze. Until we see the emergence of a saner, and more sustainable start-upculture, women with family responsibilities will remain disadvantaged. In theUS there are signs of a backlash against dotcom craziness and a new, more sustainablestart-up culture is beginning to emerge. In Stop the Insanity, new economy magazine Fast Company pinpoints a newtrend. A new generation of dotcom entrepreneurs, it argues, are creatingcompanies that work without requiring and expecting people to spend everywaking moment at work. The article listed ways to build a saner start- up: “Forget about those macho, 24-7 firms where staff eat lunch at 5pm,there’s a futon room for all nighters and the only acceptable work ethic is acheery ‘I’m-ready-to-work-myself-to-death’ devotion to the job. Maybe it’sbecause the sheer thrill of the start-up is wearing off – particularly forfolks who have been through a lot of them. Or maybe it’s because theever-escalating battle for talent is forcing start- ups to become more humanewith their human capital. “Whatever the reason, a new breed of start-up is emerging – call it thesaner start-ups – and its leaders are paying more than lip service to the ideathat pursuing your business dreams shouldn’t mean destroying your personallife.” Saner start-ups are abolishing many of the rituals that have come to definethe life of an Internet entrepreneur. “You don’t want to be burning andchurning your people. It’s counter-productive,” commented one interviewee.In today’s 24-hour dotcom economy, free time is rapidly becoming as valuableas stock options – especially as the value of shares tumbles – and the newcurrency to recruit and retain the brightest and the best. Such a cultureaugurs well for those with families, relationships and a life outside work. Italso prefigures more radical business thinking – where the boundaries betweenthe public and the private are once again blurred, and where web entrepreneurscan leverage flexibility between work and the rest of life to deliver tangiblevalue, and enhanced productivity. Jayne Buxton, co-founder of Flametree, an Internet business focused ondelivering work-life solutions for working mothers, is consciously trying torecreate a new kind of start- up culture and boasts several part-timers. Shesays, “It was tempting to fall into the idea that you have to burn peopleout to succeed. But that’s the male model of internet business. It doesn’t haveto be ours.” This is an extract from Dot Bombshell: Women, e-quality and the NewEconomy published by the Industrial Society Futures Division, www.indsoc.co.uk/futures. Helen Wilkinson is founder of Genderquake, www.gender-quake.com, the firstadvocacy, research and consultancy dedicated to feminising the new economy. Sheis also founder of www.elancentric.com Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article It’s insane to burn people out in pursuit of dotcomsOn 3 Jul 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed.