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!