The beautiful promises of the new way of working
We are working over hours on a massive scale. Men slightly more than women, but in practice we give £3,200 per person per year as a gift to our employers. 21 billion pounds in extra hours worked without a penny wage. It is the fault of the new way of working and especially the fault of innovations in ICT.
Laptop on your lap
Can you still remember when the new way of working was introduced around 2005 or so? Photos of smiling people in the Sun, with their legs in the water and their laptop on where it was designed for: on their lap. Husband and wife, both nicely dressed, sitting at a table on the beach. The New Way Of Working or agile working as it is called these days? Itb was supposed to be the solution for the traffic jams and the unbalanced work and private life. And the way forward to outcome driven management, focusing on results rather than presence. Being more productive in an environbment of your choice, whenever you want.
Has it failed?
Has the new way of working failed? It looks like it when you hear that many firms require their employees to spend whole days in the office again. What happened to us that all those fine promises did not become reality?
Agile working is about giving freedom and responsibility in a way that professionals can decide how they can best do their work. Unfortunately, many organisations have implemented an agile working style only by reducing the number of square meters in the office. Very often no investment went into real behavioral change. This was at a time when the one technological innovation came to the market after the other. We already were struggling to keep up with our mailbox, but now we constantly have to keep an eye on Whatsapp, we need to leave an upbeat note regularly and at appropriate times on the internal Yammer and save all those documents in a project site on SharePoint or Google Drive.
The whole day is full of triggers and signals, we hardly get to our normal work anymore, let alone get through our overflown mailbox. And in naddition to that you will also need to look for a workplace or a locker, because your employer was especially interested at the costsaving of agile workimng and not on what was needed to focus on activity based working in a good way.
It is not a surprise that we no longer work during the day and have to put in all the overhours? In the evening, at home, as it has become quieter on your phone and in your mailbox, we get to our real work. The reality of today is that the productivity of people has not grown but declined. It is no surprise that the number of people with a burn-out is growing and getting younger as well. And that the involvement in organisations is further declining.
It is time to now really introduce Agile working!