DIGITAL REVOLUTION

In the past decade, digital and communication technologies have been changing our lives. And will keep doing so. We all have computers, one or more smartphones, and the objects around us are getting connected. But that is only one side of life. Indeed, we spend a significant amount of time… at work.

Work has become digital too. Letters are e-mails/chat/Slack, documents are word/excel/pdf files, drawings made by CAD softwares and prototypes by 3D printers… Work organizations have seen important changes going along with their globalization. Design in North America, manufacturing in South-East Asia, sales in Europe, customer support in Africa (this is of course an example!). Companies changed their habits to fit such processes with the support of digital and technology.

 

PERSONAL MIX UP

But the next (r)evolution is ongoing. Communication technologies made the border between personal and professional sides of life get fuzzy. I check Facebook and Twitter at work, but also my professional e-mails at home. People no longer look for balance between personal and professional areas, they mix it up. Companies and organizations need to adapt their rules to this trend. Or let young talents go…
Following the same trend, people switched from career management to life management. Work is not a separate activity we focus on 8 hours a day. It is fully integrated in our life. Well-being is the measure. Quality of the work environment, atmosphere are now as important as salary and career evolution.

As part of this well-being improvement, more and more workers consider teleworking as part of the solution. Telework, telecommuting, remote work, means working from home or a so called « third place » that is not the company’s office or building.

It has indeed many benefits: transport time is reduced, more flexibility and autonomy in the daily business, less disturbance, better productivity… It is difficult to find accurate numbers on the amount of teleworkers. The Global Workplace Analytics agency states : “studying the work-at-home population is a little like trying to study meteoroids. We know there are a lot of them and we know they’re important, but we don’t know where they all are and not everyone agrees on which ones to count.” . Based on a survey by Greenworking agency, the amount of teleworkers is approximately 5 to 10% in France, 25 to 30% in the Anglo-Saxon countries . And it is increasing.

 

WHERE IS THE COFFEE MACHINE

The development of this new work organization was made possible by digital… or did it support the emergence of new digital tools? Likely both are true.

Although some members of a team work at home, they remain part of the team. Communication is important, as well as digital « common places ». As we all know, the main source of information in every company is the coffee machine!  It is hence important to set up a dedicated platform, wiki, website where subjects and issues can be raised and solved together. For each special need there are tools. You can have a look at collaboration.grantcraft.org, where some of these tools are sorted out by collaboration need.

And you? Have you experienced remote collaboration? Do you telework?
Share your experience and tips with us!

 

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1 Comment

  1. 28 May 2015 at 9 h 46 min — Reply

    Hi Victor,

    You’re right, digital brings work to home and home to work. Some way it give us flexibility, but I see several issues:

    – Using personal applications at work such Facebook, personal mail, personal USB pen drive, and so on could be damageable for employees, since all of this potentially create datas that could be use against them in a case of a conflict with the company.
    And it can introduce personal information accidentally, such the economic situation, health, job research, … Not to speak about confidential informations from the company.

    – And on the other hand, being notified by professional emails on the phone at home is stressful. People need rest time outside the work, they own it by working during the “working time”. By the way most of contracts don’t include working in the week end.

    Personally I decided not to get my professional emails on my smartphone.

    I think the more the digital will potentially brings work at home, the more “unconnected moments” will be valuated.

    The thing is, will you turn off your devices?

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