This magazine from the Workforce Institute at Kronos reflects the current always-on work trend. It looks at how we got here, and what it will take to achieve smarter working practices and great results for employers, while enabling employees to achieve the right work-life balance.
Since we launched the Workforce Institute back in 2007 in the US, we have always focused on smarter working practices and the importance of balancing employee experience with productivity, sharing numerous case studies that reveal that employers who put their employees first are rewarded with better results.
During that time, we’ve seen tremendous growth in the variety and power of new technologies that impact people at work and at home. Social collaboration tools like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, initially viewed as entertainment for Millennials, are now leveraged as critical tools for sharing information inside and outside of organisations. But are these tools really helping us to create smarter working practices?
While the explosion of these technologies has delivered many benefits to organisations, it also presents new challenges. The articles in this magazine assess these costs and benefits in terms of three pillars: people, time, and technology. Only when we consider them all, will we be in a position to really assess smarter working practices.
- People want to be productive and engaged at work, but they have their limits. The combination of high pressure for productivity, a smartphone in every pocket, and numerous communication channels can lead quickly to fatigue, burnout and disengagement. Many respondents in our recent European research have indicated they’ve been distracted and even injured as a result of their always-on connection to their devices.
- Time – there is never enough of it. Neither at work nor at home. Technology can make it possible for many jobs to be performed remotely, but that convenience can quickly become burdensome if it means people are expected to respond to digital communications outside of normal working hours. This issue of how much of a person’s time ‘belongs‘ to his or her employer has even led to new and emerging legislation in different areas of the world in an attempt to protect workers from overzealous employers.
- Technology is neither the sole cause nor solution to this tension between people and their time. Individuals and organisations need to find the balance that works best for them.
Our contributors have given a lot of thought to how we got here, and what needs to change for employers to adopt smarter working practices, achieve great results, whilst also ensuring their workers balance their work and personal lives.