For many years, the workplace has been seen as a physical destination where employees travel daily to complete work, typically keeping hours that begin in the morning and end in the early evening. In the last decade, telecommuting has increased in popularity as technology has advanced and businesses have established infrastructure that can be accessed remotely. It has allowed employees great flexibility to work from home, and at client sites, at airports, or abroad.
Other advancements in technologies, such as the evolution of laptops, smartphones, and tablets—together with location flexibility—have dramatically shifted the way employees accomplish their work. They are now able to work at the hours of their choosing. This shift creates work as a series of moments of productive output, where the traditional boundaries around work are diminished.
Changing the Paradigm of the Workplace
The changing workplace provides many different mechanisms for completing work, regardless of the boundaries set by a physical office. Tablets are a great example of work that is completed as a series of moments.
Let’s say it’s early Monday morning and you’re eating breakfast and watching the daily news on your tablet, when a notification for a workflow process pops up at the top of your screen. You pause the news stream, approve the request, and return to your news. This process represents work as a series of moments because you’re not sitting down to work for an hour; you’re watching the news, but take a moment to process a unit of work. It’s an example of truly transcending the traditional notions that work must occur at a specific location, or at a specific time.
Business Benefits From New Work Styles
When organizations encourage employees to use this new paradigm for completing work, businesses benefit in a number of ways. Work gets done faster, employees are more available and accessible, and response times are quicker.
Employee satisfaction will improve as they can fit work around their lives and choose to do things like pick up the kids from school at 3:00 p.m., then work when they can be more productive once the kids are asleep.
New technology and work models will change the way employees complete tasks across organizations. As more and more companies begin to see the value of this paradigm for employees as well as for the bottom line, its popularity and acceptance in the work landscape will grow steadily.