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Friday, 8 January 2010

Work - continued

kcm's comment on yesterday's post started me thinking about work and how it could change and why it frequently doesn't. The organisation I worked for was always a bit slow to accept technological developments but even there VoiP phone calls were being talked about, hot desking in some places was becoming the norm rather than the exception and working from home would at least be considered as an option before I retired.

Hot desking met with a great deal of resistance from the staff as a whole - a resistance which I can understand to a certain extent. But with an organisation in which you can log onto a computer in any office in the country and get all your own services, data and files you really don't need to be confined to one desk or one office.

I used to do a job in which I was part of a virtual team - which did meet physically once a month but needn't have done - and I used to travel all over the country training managers. I could log in at whichever office I found myself and deal with e-mail and catch up with changes in information. To me this was great. To others not having a firm base was the height of insecurity. It will take time to change people's minds about this and to deal with the human issues involved.

For the last 10 years of my working life I was not based in the same office as my immediate line manager. I found this liberating but I soon realised, when I went back to being based in one office 4 years before I retired, that other people hated their manager only being available on the end of a phone or by e-mail. To me it was the norm - to my colleagues it was something totally alien and very uncomfortable. It is perfectly workable and makes the individual worker far more self reliant and able to solve their own problems but again resistance needs to be overcome.

I've just started to read what looks like being an interesting book - The Future of Work by Richard Donkin - which looks likes raising some - if not all - of the same issues.

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