Blended, not segmented
In an increasingly interconnected world, the rift between the person and the role within the workplace is diminishing. Again, highlighting a moment from our presentation at the EAPA 2011 Conference back in October, we provided a brief demonstration of the change that is coming with the introduction of smart technology that is cheap, intuitive, and pervasive. We added many of the ingredients of our everyday lives – personal photos, TPS reports, business cards, a beer (non-alcoholic, of course), and some others – to a blender. After pureeing the ingredients, we had the mish mash of our lives in a soupy representation of its non-segmentation. Slowly, but surely, we continue to blur the lines between our personal and professional lives. The generation entering the workplace today, as well as the mavens that have been productively using social media over the past decade, are contending with very significant issues when it comes to their personal versus professional circles.
Which is perfectly fine for them as, characteristically, they are less concerned about the space between work and personal that has existed in previous generations.
But it does bring up a new combined reality wherein the interconnectedness of all things plays a new role, e.g., less applying for jobs and more networking with previous co-workers and current friends. This is a powerful change in the culture of hiring as we can rely more on data points that are trusted, rather than on the various axes we might consider from an interview.
We’ll have chips, you bring the dip
This is further aided by the number of devices (and the consolidators like cloud computing and apps) on which we can maintain a seamless online life. Our ability to share, connect, and compute through these various devices has led to a revolution for some workplaces. We’ve gone from intentional VPN connections on desktops into the workplace, to push-based access to email on our phones.
Now we have the opportunity for individual employees to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Gone are the days where individuals carry two phones, or a personal phone and a work laptop. A new tide is rising where an employee can use their personal device to connect to work. This has obvious implications associated with it. In my last blog, I walked through some of the changes in the landscape regarding social media in the workplace and its potential for the leaking of PCI (a play on Private Health Information, Private Corporate Information). Imagine the concerns regarding that PCI on a device that can literally be left on a street corner! Consider data from Lookout Security (a mobile app that tracks lost phones) alone: 9 million lost phones in 2011. By the way, if you have employees using mobile devices for work purposes, either company owned or personally owned, you should have a solution like Lookout or iOS’s Find my iPhone in place. It’s just another thing to add to the technology section of your HR manual.
We can access statistics and reports from virtually anywhere with a WiFi or data signal, and we can do it on the same devices as our social media and personal activities. This means increased efficiency for some, and others less so as there are more distractions on the same device; however, it also means being less tied down to a workstation. Enabling employees to function in their role fluidly and dynamically means a potential for faster response rates and less commuting or booting (as in booting up a computer) time. So long as you are not also operating in System 1 by multi-tasking.
What does this have to do with health?
I’m so glad you asked. The mobile revolution has another impact on our lives: the ability for our physical wellbeing to be more social and integrated with our daily activities. For an employer, this can mean increased health outcomes to decrease premiums as awareness of one’s health can increase attention to keeping oneself healthier. Integrated with Social Media, this also allows for real time feedback from our social network, encouraging and assisting in the process of growing our health. And since we spend 1/3 of our week working, ignoring this time because it’s “work time” is simply the wrong way to go about creating a healthier workforce. Population health strategies necessitate an integrated approach to health – and even more so when you are self-insured!
If that’s not interesting enough, using both hardware and software, new tracking of the quantified self enables a feedback system that helps provide data to be reviewed by System 2, resulting in increased awareness of our current health status. Knowing your heart-rate through events, in real time, allows for biofeedback-based solutions to situations. Literally translated, our at-the-moment health can enable greater productivity at work – whether that’s at a coffee shop, your home, or at the office. As these pieces of technology become cheaper and more precise, BYOD might one day allow for the inclusion of health devices for work too.
To our health,