Modern Technology but still the same People! Project environment part 1

 

 

Today we  have the latest CAD technology and we run like flashes with our PDAs, our Smartphones, our UMPCs and stuff saying that mobility is the thing. We sit in flexible office landscapes and we are available 24/7.
But hey! Stop! There is something wrong with this picture.....

You guessed it - what ever happened to us? There are a few signs telling us that we might need a new picture.

First - we are more and more stressed out of our wits.

Second - more and more people complain on having bad backs.

These two are of course related but we can take a look at them separately too.

The stress levels can actually be related directly to us being forced to be available at all times, our mobile ringing at any moment, e-mails dropping in every other minute and the believed need to reply within seconds. As we sit in landscapes we see and hear others havining the same stress levels as we do and we get distracted too.
When a distraction occurs it takes us 15 minutes to get our focus back on our task at hand again according to recent research and before that we get another distraction for sure! Simultaneous Capacity is a myth! At the same time as we are sitting in a "slave sea" together the trend is that we do not sit down together and talk over coffee. We go to the machine, get our mug and go straight back to our place by our laptop. We never actually meet. We have never been so alone as we are now! And in large companies we can sometime find ourselves having all members in the office having different managers all not even sitting in the same office or not even in the same country. The "team" has been lost as a concept. We find ourselves in a not-so-splendid solitude without social connection and forced to flee, fight or pay dead with a second's notice. Our adrenaline is pumping through every cell of our bodies 24/7 - No wonder we are stressed......

The bad backs - well folks there are a few obvious facts here too...
The mobility/availability factor leads us to taking our laptop, our mobile and our work everywhere we go - even on holiday so I am told :-). If we make just a little calculation here on weights we can easily come up with that only on regular working days we carry 1.5 tons of office supplies around every year. That is about the weight of a Volvo! And most of it is carried on one side of our body too. Then we have the sitting at all times and the work  using laptops.  Our backs are NOT developed for sitting! But still we do just that for more than half of our waking hours - at work , commuting and at home. And not much exercise either. Only the Norwegians have tried to figure out a new way of sitting. See www.backapp.eu for details. We others keep sitting in bad chairs that we do not even bother to adjust. And management has perhaps invested in tables that can be adjusted to standing - but we never do!
Then we work using our laptops with far too small screens leading us to lean forward stretching our necks to see something or worse sitting in some airport somewhere with our laptops in our laps. We all know that the only place a laptop should not be is IN OUR LAPS! We should rename them "flap tops" instead... No wonder we get bad backs...

Seems like we are working for the technology now - not the other way around!

And these thoughts  are just for starting the ball.....

 

  • Ironic but so true!  My church had a sermon series entitled iLink which discussed this very subject.  In this time of technology, one would think we would be more connected, and better attune to what is going on in our freinds'/contacts' lives, yet just the opposite is true.  Of course, the application there was spiritually, but you are so correct that the exact same connection can be made professionally, too.  I can't count the number of my co-workers that take work home - and it's the rule more than the exception with some.  I agree with your sentiment, Hans, that we need to remember technology was made for us and not the other way around.  The promise of technology - easier access to one another and more productive work environments - has delivered.  But the delivery fee is high: lonlier people and more stressful work environments.  

    No, all this new tech isn't instrinsically bad.  But it was made *for* us, *by* us.  We can't necessarily reverse technology's march, but isn't it at least possible we can *do* some of the sorts of things that people used to do before all the technology?  Isn't it up to us to find a middle gound?  I'm sure there is a happy medium...