I wrote about hyperconnectivity a few days ago which is essentially a technology trend, but it is and will continue to have a profound impact on management both professional and personal. The basic issue is with everything always connected and communicating where does one draw the line?
Let’s take the obvious examples, BlackBerry’s and personal email.
I walk around the office these days and people seem to be always checking personal web based email during work hours. 10-15 years ago back in the days when personal phone calls were monitored, this would be unacceptable. But today management in most “knowledge worker” organisations seem to have accepted that personal email will get checked.
A side note IT organisations have a paradox to manage, they don’t want the work email system filled with personal emails, however personal web based emails allow for virus ladened files to be easily deposited into the corporation.
The BlackBerry and other push email devices have taken over our personal lives. I walk around shopping centres, restaurants, parks etc and there we have people checking work emails. Spouses, kids and friends are ignored while the process takes place. Again a portion of society now seems to accept that this will take place.
I haven’t even begun to touch on RSS readers, SMS messages, blogs, mobile phones but the same is true for all.
It is only going to get worse.
Over the last few weeks Microsoft in the UK set up a tree house in a park in down town London to show that with all this great new technology people can work anywhere, at anytime. They even have a new name for this type of work Moof, “Mobile out of office” with a blog. Where is the balance?
Web Worker Daily wrote about Busy vs Burst working styles back in April, based on James Governor’s post , a FastForward post, and a post from Harvard Business School professor Andrew McAfee. The basic idea across all posts is that we have a clash of cultures brewing around how work actually gets done in the workplace. Web Worker Daily summed it up nicely:-
Busy: Show your face during all standard working hours.
Burst: If you produce what you need to, we donâ€™t care when you do it or how long it takes.
The bursty style can only succeed when you have an always on environment.
Here are a few questions I think we need to explore.
- As a manager how do you control both, personal and professional so one doesn’t take over the other?
- How do we manage the “social/knowledge/collaboration tool junkies” James Governor talks about?
- How do we measure productivity of the “social/knowledge/collaboration tool junkies”?
- Do we need to change the definition of productivity?
- How do you recruit a “social/knowledge/collaboration tool junkie”, what would the job description look like?
- How do we explain to the Busy people that the Burst people are actually getting their work done?
- If Bursty people can, or are perceived to, get their jobs done so quickly, should we expect more productivity out of them during 9 to 5?
There are some easy answers to some of the questions but I feel once we add everything together management is going to get very interesting.