If you are of a certain age you may be able to remember a time in the 1970s when predictions about the future of work and life were very upbeat. The view was that by 2020 we would all be enjoying much more leisure time and most people would have part-time jobs, working flexible hours. This future was painted as a kind of utopia that we should all aspire to and work towards achieving.
Ironically with the arrival of COVID-19 this “utopia” has become a reality for many, but not in the way that those futurists in the 1970s predicted. There are large numbers of the workforce who have more leisure time, but not by choice. More people are working a number of part-time jobs because this is all they can find to make ends meet.
Life objectives, rather like wishes, have a way of not turning out the way you wanted or expected. In my experience the same is often true of business objectives. There is so much focus on achieving the business objectives that there is little time left to consider the consequences, both financial and human. The result is that instead of the utopian outcome the business expected, stress within the business is increased as the organisational and operational impact is felt.
Increasingly businesses look for technology solutions to achieve the operational, organisational and productivity improvements that rapid and sustained business growth demands. These technology solutions also have a tendency to promise a business utopia that is immediate and problem free, with lots of happy staff wondering how they ever managed without the particular application. The reality is that things usually get worse before they get better as staff learn and adapt to the new application. Sometimes the desired outcomes are achieved and sometimes the application simply adds more workload.
The business and perhaps life lesson for us all is to be careful what we wish for and to spend more time mitigating or at least planning for the consequence of the wish being granted. Perhaps companies could learn more from Asian cultures in this regard. They tend to approach challenges in a much more holistic way than their western counterparts thereby mitigating many of the areas of increasing stress and constant change that employees increasingly point to.
At Elastic Mint we believe that if you take the trouble to work through the detail before launching you will save both time and money. You will be building on firm foundations and changes moving forward will be easier to implement.
When much of how we live and work is under review this may be another consideration to add to the list.