Hornung, S. (2013), "Work Shift: The Death of Dolly, Dilbert and Dr No, keynote speech by Dr Nicola Millard (BT) at the HRM Expo (Zukunft Personal), 25 September 2012", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 12 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/shr.2013.37212baa.013
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Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Work Shift: The Death of Dolly, Dilbert and Dr No, keynote speech by Dr Nicola Millard (BT) at the HRM Expo (Zukunft Personal), 25 September 2012
Article Type: Resources From: Strategic HR Review, Volume 12, Issue 2
Stefanie HornungPress Officer for HRM Expo (Zukunft Personal).
Organizations are built to last: they have processes, rules and budgets; they are built to remain stable. But according to Dr. Nicola Millard, psychologist and customer experience futurologist at British Telecom (BT), today this organizational model is no longer appropriate. In her opening keynote at this year’s HRM Expo, Europe’s largest Exhibition for Human Resource Management in Cologne (Germany), she outlined the current “Work Shift” and how enterprises and especially HR managers can manage it.
The death of Dolly
9-to-5 (the famous song of Dolly Parton) is most definitely dead. Devices are always on, and always on us. “In our research we found out that on average we get interrupted once every three minutes,” said Millard. A lot of people are stressed by this. In addition, task switching damages productivity. Therefore Millard calls for a “Balanced Communication Diet”: employees should reduce how often they check their e-mail and give people guidance when and by which communication tool they will be available.
The death of Dilbert
“The death of Dilbert or the Desk” refers to how offices are used. “The trend is about task based working: you don’t always work at your desk; you move to the right place according to what you are doing,” explains Millard. Offices also become a place where you socialize about work. Hence they should be designed in a new way, for instance with acoustic shields to avoid noise or with social spaces like huge kitchens. Working at home is also an option, but does not work for everybody. Millard’s solution is the “coffice,” a space between office and café – with good coffee, cake and connectivity to work in the cloud.
The death of Dr No
“The death of Dr No is about employees starting to take things into their own hands.” A prominent trend is “Bring your own device for work”: employees have better technology at home than in the office, so they want to use it for work. “Around 38 percent of employees are not allowed to do so, but 4 percent do it anyway – and that figure is probably higher,” mentions Millard a result of her research. So she suggests to say “Yes”, but to introduce policies on how to use these devices and what to store on it.
Shift from stable to more agile organizations
Nowadays customers have really complex problems. “We need a whole toolbox that helps speed-date people and problems in an agile way,” said Millard. Companies should become social enterprises that put their questions and problems on social networks, intelligent rating systems or blogs to find the persons who have the required knowledge in their head. Although there will be a dilemma for us in the future: “The temptation is when we see passionate people working together, we want to stabilize the system – we want to hit the blob that goes really fast into a square. Instead we should anchor the sphere on a plinth. We need stability and on the top of it agility,” summarized Millard.