Home/Work: Blurring Personal and Professional Identities

Published Thursday, May 27, 2010 8:21 AM

Clear demarcations between work and personal life have gone the way of the three-martini lunch. Using work computers to shop online or make vacation reservations is as common as BlackBerries buzzing at school recitals or a co-worker friending you on Facebook.

Technology increasingly enables people to live a 24/7 existence, eroding the line between home and office. Today, professionals can even work while on vacation. Rather than bemoan the change (a Luddite-like finger in the dike) today's employee should embrace technology  for the positive attributes it brings to creating healthy work/life synergy.

Managed appropriately, technology enhances flexibility, productivity and business and personal brand value. Social media is a case in point.

Consider that Twitter and Facebook can be set up for personal use, professional use or a hybrid model. Experiment with what works for you and your company.

For many knowledge workers, a hybrid professional/personal online presence is desirable. Social media is not only fun, it is an extremely powerful marketing tool. Used effectively, you can build a meaningful personal brand by engaging the social media channels that are right for you

When you venture into social media be sure to manage potential pitfalls by arming yourself with tools to protect your online reputation.  Equal care should be taken not to run afoul of your company's personal use standards for technology. Avid texters should take note: the Supreme Court will soon decide if a California police department violated an employee's privacy when it inspected personal text messages he sent using a work-issued pager.

Familiarize yourself with what is permissible at your job.

In the end, judgment matters. The best way to avoid violating your company's technology use standards, or with revealing too much personal information to professional contacts is to use good judgment.

The old adage applies: If you wouldn't want to see it on the front page of the New York Times, do not say it, or do it...or Tweet it!

by Candie Harris


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Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization.  Believing in  "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.

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