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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Price of 24/7 Convenience

Who among us hasn't appreciated the convenience of filling a prescription at 10 p.m or banking on a Saturday?
But have you ever stopped to think about the societal impact of our round-the-clock schedules on American families? Someone has to work those odd hours. Today, one in five Americans work mostly nonstandard hours and one-third of all employed Americans work weekends.
Harriet Presser, a University of Maryland professor, has studied the effect of 24/7 on families and says: "This trend is...making the home-time structure of the American family far more complex that we've acknowledged.'' Oddly enough, it is the huge increase of women in the workforce that has fed the demand for round-the-clock services that better suit their schedules. But the effect, she says, is split-shift parenting, lower quality of marriages, sleep deprivation and increased stress on families. Presser is pushing for a frank policy discussion of the issues she raises. Tell me your thoughts about the price of convenience.


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