Sunday, November 18, 2007

The changing workplace

A study of working in London now compared to when I  started 9 yrs ago...
  1. Lunchhour: Used to be a liquid lunch that would be stretched to two hours on a Friday, today you are luck if you get 30 minutes.
  2. Work-life balance: Wasn't required in the old days, now firms are attempting to encourage workers to work less than a 100 hours a week by inviting them to meetings about "work-life balance"-held from 530pm...
  3. Internal communications: Were posted on a noticeboard near the restaurant, nowadays they are even done by videocast
  4. Meetings: In the old days, you got lucky and got sent for a meeting in Cardiff, today you have tele/video-conference with your English-challenged colleagues in Japan, India or even Brazil.
  5. Long-service awards: were given to peeps who had been with the firm for 30 years, today you are given one after 5 years. If you reach ten, you get to meet the CEO.
  6. Feedback from your boss: If you did a piece of work, you would print it and walk it to the boss' office, who'd then write comments all over your carefully prepared spreadsheets,  today he will email you from his blackberry while he is in another meeting.
  7. Internet access: We used to have one standalone PC for accessing internet, now you even set up your own intranet site so you can post documents for all to view
  8. Org structure: The pyramid hierarchical structure has given way to more flat structures. There also also more dotted reporting lines to other divisions outside your own. E.g. if you are a trader in an investment bank, you will have a dotted line to operations and finance and vice versa.
  9. IT systems: Most companies had a trading system linked to a general ledger which then linked into a financial system. Now a IT system architecture map looks like spaghetti on paper
  10. Black co-workers: Having black co-workers was a novelty, the only black people you saw worked in the canteen or were security. Today led by our brodas from Nigeria, every division has one or two. Very few in management though...
  11. Performance management: You were given a list of objectives for the year and if you got lucky, you would sit with somebody at the end of the year who ticked off everything. Today, you have the list of objectives, you also have a list of behaviours. If you are lucky, it will be the same boss you had at the start of the year. If you are a line manager, your list of behaviours will include diversity i.e. how many women, black people etc you've hired in your team; community work i.e. how much voluntary have you done etc.
  12. Boss' office: The boss always had his own office with shutters to keep up out plying eyes. Then came open office plan aka the call centre layout with bosses having to whisper into their phones, today they get their own offices, but the door is kept open and there are no shutters..
  13. Relations: Having relations in the work place was de rigueur. Today its actively frowned on and due to its potential to turn into a sexual discrimination/harassment court case, is a sackable offense if undeclared.
Somethings have remained the same though.
  1. IT helpdesk: The "switch off your PC then switch it" response on again is still a cover all for any problems
  2. The pain in the backside work colleague: Who reaps where they haven't sowed, has jokes that he laughs at but no one else does, always late for meetings etc still exist

2 comments:

Ssembonge said...

Makes me wonder how work was accomplished without computers.

I thought the friday 'liquid' lunch is still in effect. Don't tell me they have done away with it.

JaclinM said...

I wonder why have a half year appraisals, because they are so time consuming and by the time one gets to meet their manager, its already time for the end-year appraisal. Doing away with these would save alot of time.

It should also be as simple as, "you've done this well/bad, this is what you are getting".