6-11 the new 9-5?Posted on June 22, 2012 by TheStorageChap in Social
Rather than making our lives easier and giving us more time to relax and spend time with our families, technology and the ability to access our work from anywhere, has in fact meant that we spend more time ‘involved’ in work than we ever did previously, probably in the history of mankind! A familiar scenario for many people, I find myself getting up in the morning and checking emails at 7am before I have breakfast, I then work a ‘normal’ working day, before settling down in the evening with my iPhone to monitor incoming emails, Twitter, Facebook, etc., responding as necessary and then one final check of the laptop before bed.
The traditional 9am to 5pm, five day working week, is something that most of us no longer have the luxury of maintaining. Like many of my colleagues my manager is based in the US and I cover Europe, Middle East and Africa. In a worst case scenario my geography and need to interact with colleagues means that people are starting work at 4am and finishing at 1am in the equivalent of my local time zone. Mix with this working weeks in the Middle East that conflict with the western weekend of Saturday and Sunday and the need to frequently travel on a Sunday for an early start on Monday ( I am doing exactly that as I write this) and the amount of time spent actually working or travelling for work is a lot more than the traditional 40 hour working week.
So as I begin to take some responsibility for people how do I ensure that everyone, including myself, maintains a work life balance that is conducive with maintaining productivity and a healthy family life? Partly the answer lies in giving people flexibility to manage themselves and their time, removing pointless bureaucracy and ensuring we prioritise consistently and constantly. But at the same time how do we demonstrate the value that we are adding if we are no longer reporting to the office everyday or following a prescriptive working day or week.
Once again I find myself thinking about the use of Social Networking tools in business. Apps like Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare provide an opportunity for you to “check-in” at locations and for people to comment on what you are doing. What better way of being able to demonstrate what you are doing and get feedback on what you are doing? In fact I believe we should actively encourage peers and customers to comment on what we are doing as a way of being able to gauge the effectiveness and value that we bring.
Likewise many of us spend time engaged in answering questions over email and on the phone that have been both asked and answered probably several times before and will get asked and answered again in the future. As the demands on our time increase we need betters ways of sharing our knowledge in a scalable fashion and keeping that information up to date and relevant. In a previous post I commented on the use of our internal collaboration tools, but the more I have thought about the use, or lack of use, of these tools the more I have come to the conclusion that we are equally responsible for driving there adoption. If we continue to answer questions on a one to one basis over email, people will continue to ask them. If however we start to make a concerted effort to point people in the direction of the collaboration tools and make sure that we are using them as the place that we answer questions, everyone benefits from an evolving knowledge base that is always up to date and searchable. But it also allows individual contributors to show their value to the organisation in which they work and share their knowledge with a wider audience.
Starting this week the team and I, when appropriate, will politely ask that anyone sending them a question over email actually ask the question on an our internal collaboration site, where they or anyone else who knows the answer or has a point of view can provide input. If it’s relevant we will also look at how we can also then post those threads into the EMC Community Network. It’s a small step, but one that hopefully will begin to have pay back over the coming months!