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Hurry Up & Wait

Hurry Up & Wait

There is a saying in the media industry that says “Hurry up and wait” and this is a paradox that has got me thinking.

We live in a culture that is fast-paced, buzzing with intense productivity. Sometimes it is thrilling and exciting, and personally, it makes me feel alive, smart and definitely gives me a sense of growth, but it can’t go on like that forever. The train simply has to put on the breaks, allowing you to pull yourself towards yourself again, ready for the next ‘hurry up’ moment.

In recent years, I think the world has begun to think a little differently about the exciting and speedy pace that technology has given to the world.

  • Some companies are incorporating a 4 day week into their structure.
  • The set-up of the ‘boss’ sitting in the large, closed off office cut off from his employees is changing. Offices are open plan, hierarchy is not as obvious, there is no ‘I’ in team.
  • Flexi-hours is a concept whereby employees are able to work from home, come and go at random hours, so long as the work is done and targets are being met.
  • Fingerprint Biometrics allows employees to clock in with their fingerprint – so that if a minimum quota of hours in the office is required, then they can be monitored and met easily.
  • In Germany and France, motions have been put forward to ban sending work related emails after 6pm, and many companies have already implemented this. [businessinsider.com]

All of the above offers benefits to both employers and employees in the form of job satisfaction, reduced absenteeism, greater commitment and reduced staff turnover. [hrweb.mit.edu]

The technological revolution has allowed for everything to become faster. The world has become smaller and more accessible (even though many people are lonelier than ever) and everyone has needed to ‘get with the times’, or else risk being left behind. Work is being uploaded and reviewed online – platforms such as Dropbox and Google Drive allow all team members to view work remotely, and give quick and concise feedback. This allows for time to be saved – less face time & less driving to meetings.

How about this thought – If you look at the average decrease in running  times for the 100m sprint during the Olympics starting from the 1900’s, the times have  decreased on average by 0.01194 sec’s per year [blog.minitab.com] – technology is pushing our bodies and our brains to the limit. In actual fact, where is the limit? Drones and robotics are taking human abilities into another era. We are in for some interesting times ahead!

On the other side of the coin though, people are starting to think about things a little differently these days. Are we tired of the technology race that started in the early nineties? We just can’t keep on running, can we? It is no wonder that thought processes are changing. The world is taking note, and slowly it feels like the wheels are turning. People are recognizing that there is a better way to live and work cleverer. For example, eating whole foods and growing your own food is being introduced into education. People are more conscious of whether the products they consume are sustainable. Renewable energy is a hot topic and is being spoken about on a global level. People are concerned that too much screen time and too little face time is a problem in the younger generation – and it is!

As Aldous Huxley wrote in his novel ‘Island’: “We shall be permitted to live on this planet only for as long as we treat all nature with compassion and intelligence.”

As the world moves into a more fast-paced digital sphere, hopefully a more natural, slower way of living can co-exist alongside the virtual reality that is fast becoming the norm.

Interesting times ahead indeed.

Gill Pearce

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