Get ready for the 20-hour-per-week workweek?

June 9, 2007

Back in the day when I was your age , I used to have to go to work at the same time everyday and work 40 hours. And, I used to have to walk uphill 5 miles to get to school… (no, wait, that was my parents). To which I said [insert teen apathy and sarcasm here] really? That’s amazing! (roll eyes) I’m certain the rolled eyes I would receive would be digital).

Yup, there’s talk of ditching the 40-hour workweek. A Tekrati article about a report from Gartner research says Gartner is suggesting CIOs at organizations create the 20-hour job description (addressing a growing problem without radically restructuring well-established management models) to attract and retain skilled and highly qualified workers.

Because development often goes hand-in-hand with “attracting and retaining” employees under the umbrella of Talent Management, I read this overview with an eye toward what it might mean for learning professionals. The report indicates the advice from Gartner to CIOs is meant to address three trends:

  • higher numbers of employees working fewer hours per week,
  • employees using more and more types of digital devices and services, and
  • employees using technology in a more fully blended personal-work scenario.

So what might this mean for learning and development?

  • More employees working fewer hours suggests the need for less time-consuming training, smaller bits of information, and more flexibility as to time, place, and space.
  • Employees using more digital devices and services suggests the need to not only provide engaging, relevant learning experiences for personal devices but training on how to actually use those devices and access and use various Web services. This is why those RSS and Wiki videos are so good. This is also why it is so important for learning professionals to use the tools themselves. Teachers didn’t call in a specialist to teach kids how to use a pencil correctly during math class.
  • Employees using technology in a more fully blended personal-work scenario suggests the need for culture change. I think this one is the biggee. We can’t use personal digital devices or Web services if we have major issues around access, security, firewalls, etc.

Yes, let’s deep six this archaic 40-hr stuff. But why 20 hours? Why put any restraints on hours? Crazy talk I know. I think it’s probably too radical for those with ˜well-established management models. But learning professionals could get out in front here.

  • http://www.artichoke.typepad.com/ Artichoke

    Yes, let’s deep six this archaic 40-hr stuff. But why 20 hours? Why put any restraints on hours?

    Exposing and challenging (hidden) assumptions about the systems that structure our lives and our learning is interesting. In NZ schools we seldom challenge the length and the structure of the school day – suggesting radical reforms in learning environments yet assuming that these will be interpreted thought the standard school timetable and inter disciplinary divisions. And then we are surprised at the same old same old outcomes.

  • http://www.artichoke.typepad.com Artichoke

    Yes, let’s deep six this archaic 40-hr stuff. But why 20 hours? Why put any restraints on hours?

    Exposing and challenging (hidden) assumptions about the systems that structure our lives and our learning is interesting. In NZ schools we seldom challenge the length and the structure of the school day – suggesting radical reforms in learning environments yet assuming that these will be interpreted thought the standard school timetable and inter disciplinary divisions. And then we are surprised at the same old same old outcomes.

  • http://learningvisions.blogspot.com Cammy

    Have you read anything about the Results Oriented Work Environment? That’ll really blow your training mind.

    Michele Martin has some greats posts on ROWE: http://michelemartin.typepad.com/thebambooprojectblog/2007/06/more_support_fo.html

  • http://learningvisions.blogspot.com/ Cammy

    Have you read anything about the Results Oriented Work Environment? That'll really blow your training mind.

    Michele Martin has some greats posts on ROWE: http://michelemartin.typepad.com/thebambooproje

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