Time is money. And it always has been. Especially for service providers who charge by the hour. 30 years ago, people would bang out five letters on a typewriter and then wait days for an answer. Now, employees type around 25 email messages that reap rapid responses every single day. Production is also getting more efficient. The expectation is that goods can be produced in ever shorter periods of time while keeping quality constant. Time has become a critical success factor. People are experiencing greater pressure. We are forced to pay much more attention to the quick pace of progress than we did years ago.
Everything has to be “real-time” these days. Chatbots offer instant responses, ERP systems deliver metrics immediately. If your flight is delayed, you find out instantly. To make sure that companies remain competitive, they have to work efficiently and continually reassess all of their divisions and workflows. Breaks — something smartphones don’t need, but users do — reduce the amount of time people have in their schedules, which just keep getting more packed. Whenever possible, companies use digital technologies to automate tasks, and that’s changing the way people work. It’s become more creative and challenging, which in turn demands additional training. Machines are there to take care of routine tasks.
How do we deal with time?
Time stands still for no one, not even during lunch. So we’re seeing some employees cut their breaks short to keep up with constantly increasing workloads. But everyone needs to rest and recuperate to stay focused and healthy. We have to start changing the way we deal with time. If you make quick decisions, you can save a lot of time. And employees are actually receiving ever more latitude, allowing them to make decisions independently. But you have to be able to deal with the responsibility that goes with that freedom. It helps to give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time in which you can concentrate. During these periods, smartphones and email are off-limits.
Creativity isn’t something that happens at the press of a button, after all. Someone taking a walk through the forest can often think more clearly than a person who is sitting at their desk, constantly available for any distraction. But the ideas of people who seek inspiration in nature are often disregarded. Departing from convention and cultural norms is still punished far too often in today’s world. Businesses need to have the courage to break the rules and acquire employees who are able to accept these new responsibilities. The 9-to-5 employee who comes into work and does as they’re told is no longer what the economy needs. What businesses are looking for are creative collaborators.
Bring on the boredom
We now have the technology to enable the New Work movement Frithjof Bergmann envisioned. But technology has yet to align itself with people’s mental and spiritual needs. The efficiency of machinery keeps setting new records. But productivity in creative fields is not about constantly increasing the number of tasks completed per hour. People need to relax after periods of intense work — they need to be bored for a while. Frequently, that’s when it goes click — the idea appears out of thin air. That one, big idea that can be of considerable benefit to the business.
We shouldn’t spend too much time weighing our options, but instead make quick decisions in any situation, stick to them, and accept the decisions of others. New work does not mean checking items off a list one by one. That’s no recipe for creativity. That’s why businesses are using methods such as design thinking, which is still a process, but allows for much greater latitude. Google gives its employees one day a week to pursue their own projects. Other companies create flexible schedules and allow staff to work from alternative locations such as home offices. That’s a good start. Businesses are learning from these experiences and making progress. But it’s also up to employees to get on board and contribute to shaping that progress.
A culture of freedom needs to be established
As mentioned above, acceptance for these new freedoms is still lacking — even among employees themselves. Some simply can’t bring themselves to go work in the park. “I can’t do that. What if someone found out?” But even looking out the window can be hard work — something many fail to understand.
If you know yourself and your goals, you can be more focused and true to yourself. That requires a certain amount of mindfulness, but there are no off-the-shelf solutions available here as there are for conventional time management. Everyone has to keep track of their own time, and the time of others. And develop new methods of handling time to ensure that the best possible results are achieved.
One way to ensure efficiency and employee satisfaction is by implementing a knowledge management system. Find out now how these systems can help New Work thrive at www.getsabio.com