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How tech is changing the way we work and play

Technology can be a 'leveller' by democratising the organisation and empowering employees at all levels with information. The frontline sales representative is not only equipped with all the real-time information that he needs for performing his job and making decisions on the spot, but also has as much access to information as senior management.

Open book organisations can now truly live up to the billing. These enhance the sense of parity and increase the motivation to participate and engage. Smarter coordination through platform technology fosters stronger collaborative organisational cultures, and thereby enhances commonality.

How we play is changing too

The emergence of on-line virtual communities is creating new opportunities for us to socialise and connect. The use statistics for UK social media hint at how highly people value these services. Facebook has 31.5 million UK users (24 million of whom log on each day) [6], Twitter has 15 million [7], and LinkedIn 10 million.[8]

These mass-use platforms offer people new ways to keep in touch with the people they are interested in. Here, or on blogs, we are able to passively push out information about our lives offering others the choice to interact with us or to ignore.

Now when we meet up our friends already know that we went to Hong Kong last month and can jump straight into discussing how it was.

Panellists contended that it would be down to users to ensure find ways to get the greatest benefits from the next wave of advances in social media. Key enablers identified here included users building a deeper appreciation of privacy implications associated with social media use as well users finding ways to prioritise and manage the flow of information from multiple social media platforms.

  • Working on the Towards a Smarter Society report in partnership with Samsung UK, Charles Levy is a Senior Economist at The Work Foundation and David Wong a Researcher at the Big Innovation Centre. Follow the links for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7 of the report.

References: [1] ONS (2013), EMP04: Employment by occupation. [2] Frey, C.B. and Osborne, M. (2013), The Future of Employment. [3] Glen Beck interview with Eric Schmidt, 24 February 2014. [4] Cornerstone (2013), The State of Workplace Productivity Report. [5] For more on post-bureaucratic organisations, see Heckscher, C. (1994), "Defining the post-bureaucratic type", in Heckscher, C. and Donnellon, A. (eds), The Post-bureaucratic Organization, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage; and Grey, C. and Garsten, C. (2001), "Trust, control and post-bureaucracy", Organisation Studies, 22(2), pp.229–50. [6] [7] [8]