The Changing Workplace: No Longer Just the Office You Work In

The other night I found myself on a conference call talking to colleagues from across the APAC region which was being headed up by someone from our EMEA offices who is based in Ireland. This got me to thinking about just how much the traditional workplace has changed over the last 50 years. No longer are most of the work relationships we have based on location or the office that you work in.

My father comes from a different generation and did like many of his friends and colleagues did in their time. That was he worked for the same company for almost his whole working career. The people he worked with were the people in his office location and the work he did mainly was Monday to Friday between 9:00 and 5:00 (I think it was actually more like 8:00-4:00 from memory).

This type of workplace is still prevalent in many organisations, however over the past number of years I believe we have seen a shift in the traditional workplace. As many positions become more information based or service oriented, we find what used to constitute traditional workplace boundaries changing.

workstation.JPG

I am based in Australia, however I have many relationships with colleagues and managers who are based elsewhere. Working with people in different locations in turn changes the hours that we work and I think we are finding a blending of work life/personal life where as once the two were very separate. VOIP and Web Technologies help us connect with people more easily than ever before and the world becomes a much smaller and connected place.

It is still important to have and develop local relationships and contacts, sometimes nothing beats talking to someone then being able to do it face to face. The great thing about the changing workplace is the chance to learn and meet so many new people with different perspectives and ideas. This was not always the case and it was limited with the technology that was available.

The changing workforce and demographics associated with it is too big a topic to cover off in one blog entry but after this conference call that I was on it got me thinking how much workplace relationships have changed and how easy it now is to work with a global workforce larger than just the physical office you work in.

Comments:

Four words - "The world is flat"

Posted by Shankar on May 18, 2009 at 09:21 AM CST #

Flexi-time working has its pluses and minues. Sometimes one has to work across multiple timezones. A workday stretches to many hours beyond the traditional eight. In the virtual office enviroment of the future, perhaps one will be expected to work any 8 hours of the day and not necessary continguous 8 hours.

Posted by Mohan Dutt on May 18, 2009 at 10:17 AM CST #

Hi Mohan, Good comment and this may be the case for some types of roles. I think this may happen (is already happening) in roles where you are responsible for outcomes not necessarily for roles that have to be within set hours (think a help desk or call centre). I think this is why we are seeing our work and personal life become more interconnected and one of the reasons we are seeing the standard 9-5 day change.

Posted by David Talamelli on May 18, 2009 at 10:25 AM CST #

With the arrival of the technology to communicate more effectively across multiple time-zones, came the propensity (responsibility?) for our global teams to multi-task across those same time-zones. Work / Life balance arguably now has a third leg to the stool composed of Twitter, Blogs, email and IM's that easily smudges what used to be a bright line between the working and personal time of our parent's era.

Posted by Harvey Braswell on May 20, 2009 at 07:33 AM CST #

WOW :) It's such a shame more folks don't know about this site, it covered just the thing I needed

Posted by Theodore Popham on December 09, 2009 at 10:51 PM CST #

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