Welcome to the 'Dynamic Work' blog set up to explore the issues and opportunities around increasingly flexible workplaces driven by the confluence of business needs and technological empowerment.
But beings as a I work in marketing, the first thing we need to do is the 't-shirt'. It ain't a campaign without a t-shirt and it ain’t a crusade without a buzzword.
In all seriousness, the label here 'Dynamic Work' is woolly enough. And the thinking in this area is meant to cover a number issues and even disciplines. Terms like 'mobile working' really just describe one part or dimension.
To illustrate the challenge the descriptive challenge, I offer some leading contenders…
- Flexible Working – Probably comes the closest to the spirit, but seems to focus primarily on work issues, while think both work and home areas are affected.
- Distributed Work – Possibly the most semantically elegant term, especially with the parallel between distribution of work content and lifestyle paralleling a similar ‘n-tier’ distribution of increasingly componentised compute processing (Service Oriented Architecture applied to human affairs). But it’s a bit long winded and dry. Which brings us to…
- Service Oriented Workforce – A more direct play on ‘Service Oriented Architecture’ buzzword which is all the rage in IT circles these days for the same sort of flexibility within systems that the new ways of work offer to the workforce.
- Mobile Working – A term prevalent in Microsoft given our mobile device offerings, but really just confined one dimension.
- Moofing – A buzzword the Windows Mobile guys coined to ‘verb-alise’ the mobile workstyle. Its etymology comes from the acronym for ‘Mobile Out Of Facility.’ Funky term, but limited focus. – It turns out that ‘Moofing’ has actually reached the Oxford English Dictionary – at least the American version. In fact, ‘moofer’ was a finalist for the Oxford University Press Word of the Year (http://blog.oup.com/2008/11/hypermiling/), one of only five such words, eventually losing out to ‘hypermiling’ (driving with the aim of conserving fuel). It’s even on the front cover of the OUP book of the Words of the Year. It all started when Microsoft UK determined that there was a lack of terminology to describe mobile working. How do you say: “I am not in the office or using a PC, but I am still working and contactable via my mobile device”? There was no easy vocabulary for that. So the mobile marketing team decided to coin the word ‘moof.’ It used it in its communications and blogs and eventually it took on its own momentum. Moof (verb) and noun (moofer) are based on the OOF in Outlook, ie Mobile Out of Office. For example, “I am moofing today”, “I like to moof at Starbucks” and “rather than being stuck in an office, I am a moofer”.
- New World of Work – Microsoft's term more generically term referring to a range of workplace impacts on ‘digital nervous systems’ emerging in business.
- Digaspora: My own neologism combining ‘digital’ with ‘diaspora’ (‘any group that has been dispersed outside its traditional homeland’). Cute, but incomplete and a bit overly clever.
- WorkLife 2.0 – Smacks of hip and trendy techno buzzword to parallel ‘Web 2.0’ which is the bold technology term of imminent shifts into new ways of distributing computing power across the Internet.
- ‘The Other 95%’ – I've recently read a number of pieces which have estimated that the IT industry comprises 5% of the world's carbon footprint. A significant amount, certainly, and worthy of all of the effort for 'Green IT', but maybe the 'what to call it' catch phrase for 'Dynamic Work' is 'The Other 95%'.
- ‘Right Working’ – I recently posted on 'The Apprentice Problem' stemming from a conversation with Gren Manuel of Dow Jones, and he commented, "[It's] not home working or office working. its *right working*, you need to have the ability to tailor the environment to the job."
- ‘Alternative Workplace Strategies’ – Real estate professional organisation CoreNet Global has used the term ‘Alternative Workplace Strategies’ complete with its own acronym – ‘AWS’ – to describe many of the new characteristics common too ‘Dynamic Work.’ They used it in a recent joint study with Microsoft looking at the rise of new approaches to workspaces despite a lagging executive support in companies.
- 'Results Only Work Environment' (ROWE) – BNET has an article titled 'Blowing Up Business As Usual' (http://www.bnet.com/2436-13059_23-237252.html) – "a management philosophy pioneered by Best Buy that lets employees decide what to work on and when. Giving them control over their time, the theory goes, makes employees not just happier but significantly more productive."
- ‘Velcro Work’ – The FT article on Edelman notes “Gensler suggests that designing offices for the four work modes can boost productivity by more than 20 per cent and says what is needed is a ‘Velcro environment’ with built-in flexibility and adaptability.” As it happens, the week after visiting Edelman, I had the chance to listen to business guru C.K. Prahalad who refers to ‘velcro organisations’ who can ‘rapidly reconfigure their organisation to respond to the volatilities of the world.’