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What Will the Future Working Week Look Like?

Created: 18 Jan 2013 • Updated: 03 Jun 2014 • 1 comment
Dianed's picture
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Introduction

Mobile is going mad—growing exponentially and absorbing more and more of our everyday business and personal lives. We therefore posed some thought-provoking topics to Symantec experts and influencers in the mobile field, gathering expert opinions on topics like the Consumerisation of IT, and what impact the influx of consumer technology will have on business. 

Join the conversation below. We are eager to discover your thoughts, your experiences, and your vision.

What will the future working week look like?

When 3G technology burst into mainstream mobile telecommunications, we all though office life would be getting an obituary. A new Internet-enabled world would put an end to those tireless hours spent nailed to a desk; replaced instead by hours spent drinking Negronis cocktails lying on tropical beaches.

However, now that 4G is edging closer into the mainstream, and BYOD policies in the office are becoming standard practice, it’s time to once again consider how these changes are going to impact the future working week. Meetings round the boardroom table, although still commonplace, have already been replaced by Google+ Hangouts and Skype conference calls. Large documents and files can be stored within the cloud; file hosting services offer smooth data transfers; emails can be exchanged remotely by a mobile handset. We’re getting there slowly.

Is there still a need for employee-to-employee interaction when the reality is that a majority of tasks can be completed from home? Alongside this so-called ‘working revolution’ are the constant headaches of device security, insecure network connections and sensitive company information falling into the wrong hands: be that through human negligence or the shortcomings of the software itself. Is there some happy medium which allows a degree of synergy between professional freedom and data security?

 

                                          

 

You may also be interested in The Consumerization of IT discussion here.

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TomSchroeder's picture

In a world where employees are connected everywhere they go, I expect more convergence between people’s social and work lives. Technology will be the nirvana that enables us to flexibly shift between personal and business tasks and priorities.

Advancements in wireless infrastructures and the subsequent concentration on digital collaboration are driving an increase in our capacity for speed and efficiency, and will lead to “anywhere, anytime” working patterns. No clear distinction will be made between working and non-working hours. Tasks will be equally balanced throughout the day irrespective of their origin.

Need to visit the doctor? Why not catch up on your emails while sitting in the waiting room? About to dash out and meet a friend for a drink? How about a few minutes on video chat with a business colleague en route to the bar to discuss the results of that recent sales deal you both closed. It’s all within reach.

The reality is that physical dependencies are shifting out of our work life: the only reason for visiting the office will be the informal chat at the coffee machine, not a dependency towards any infrastructure items, like a PC or a phone.

With the dilution of physical borders we will consequently experience a dilution of time constraints, leading to an increased importance placed upon priority setting. We will be more dynamic in our ability to balance tasks throughout the day, with no differentiation between ‘office working hours’  or ‘personal/free time’ and the constraints or limitations they place upon us.

It doesn’t stop there: we are potentially looking at a 100 percent mobile web business world. Mobile working will, for example, fuel the move to collaborative working. Few employees are satisfied with the technology available to them at work, preferring the more intuitive tools they use in their personal lives—witness the demand for BYOD.

As more people opt for smartphones and tablets at home, it makes sense for companies to support staff in their preferred choice of device in the workplace. This is a precursor to the 100 percent web business world, where applications are delivered over the internet and accessed through a web browser.

Devices like tablets and smartphones will then become central portals to information and applications that help people to be productive anywhere. Businesses will no longer own or manage servers or client software, and can spend their time on things that create competitive advantage. For the next generation of workers, this will be the norm, as educational organisations are early adopters of this 100 percent web approach.

Collaboration may be a buzzword, but many organisations are also already developing cultures that encourage people to work together across locations and borders, using social, mobile and cloud technologies. Eventually, organisations that embrace this will reap the benefits versus those that stay stuck in silos. After all, it’s no secret that employees who are given the opportunity to collaborate at work are more likely to have contributed new ideas to their company.

In the future, innovation will increasingly emerge from different directions, both inside and outside of an organisation, and particularly from a grassroots level—and more value will be placed on the quality of ideas generated than other performance metrics.

Changes to the way we work are already underway. As a new generation of technologies breaks down barriers within organisations and across borders, we will see a move towards a working culture more focused on encouraging ideas and innovation.

Those companies that use mobile collaboration and communication to their advantage and embrace the desire from their employees to use the same technologies they use in their personal lives at work, will be the ones best placed to create a culture of success.

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