Will Workshifting Become Commonplace?

Slowly but surely, a seismic shift is taking place in the way that we view working. If you like, we are far more enlightened and aware of exactly what is possible and we are beginning to question the impositions that working for a living actually imposes on us, our family and our private lives. We understand that we need to work, to generate compensation that will help us to pay all those bills, but we would love to find ways of working which do not place so many difficulties upon us. This growing trend can be described in one word – workshifting.

While it’s difficult to get real figures to illustrate just how many people are already engaged in workshifting and can already be classified as working from somewhere else other than their traditional “office” for example, the respected analyst Forrester Research went so far as to estimate that as much as half of the workforce could be telecommuting, or teleworking by the year 2016. This is a rather bold suggestion considering we don’t really know the extent of the trend today, but it nevertheless gives cause for optimism among those who see this as a movement toward more freedom.

Workshifting does not necessarily dictate that you need to work from your home, but it could also involve working from hotel rooms, airport lounges, Internet cafés and other remote locations, wherever your work might take you. Fundamentally, we will be casting away those tethers which have up until now held us prisoner within the traditional workstation and begin using technology and advanced communications to enable us to achieve our objectives, whatever they may be.

We’ve seen in recent years how more and more employees consider that their home is their primary place of work and we wait with interest to see what the Census of 2010 is able to tell us about this trend. Will we see a wholesale adoption by 2016 as Forrester suggests?

With the technology available to us these days, why is it that we’re not seeing a wholesale exodus or even a stampede toward workshifting? Both from the point of view of the employee and the employer there’s a lot to be gained, after all. If an employer was able to eliminate the overhead costs associated with physically running an office it could be a whole lot better off and be able to report significant additional profits annually. However, traditions die hard and organisations are used to relying on a management hierarchy that dictates a certain amount of physical oversight. In short, does our management culture actually “trust” wholesale workshifting or telecommuting, or do we still expect certain people to look over the shoulders of others in order to ensure that productivity is in check?

The trend is interesting and while it seems clear that there is a head of steam behind it, it’s likely that it will take a little time to fully emerge as traditional cultures and perspectives slowly but surely fade into the distant past.

I’d Love to know if YOU are a Workshifter and how this has made a difference to you and your Business …. Drop me a comment below ……

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