“The difficulty of writing about dramatic change in the midst of it occurring is that the very drama of the effects unleashed by the change will be mistaken for what the future will become”

Kent Spreckelmeyer

What is the P J Effect?

The year 2000 doesn’t seem that long ago. We wore suits then. We were on the dawn of pajamas, but we were still in suits. People went to the office. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook was ……in High School …………………. Programmers around the globe were trying to make sure 1999 could turn into the year 2000 and that the world didn’t blow up. Some people were partying like it was 1999. Google was an infant corporation and Microsoft was the evil l empire. There was no iPad, no iPod and no iTunes.  We had Learning Management Systems, Web 2.0 was the buzz and Presidential election was hanging on chads but people still went to the office.

In the decade since then we have seen an increase in outsourcing, our dollar has plummeted, and the US position on the world stage has plummeted. We now account for only 36% of the top 500 Global Companies in the world. China, the sleeping giant has awakened. Capital ism has inspired Brazil Russia, India and China (The BRIC countries) to be some of the fastest economies in the world. These by the way are the exact countries we have outsources our manufacturing, technology, accounting and production. Our economy is no longer based on services, those are all done by other nations or production, that too are mostly outsources. We are a nation of entertainment addicts and knowledge workers.

Most work is done by international teams. Even the programmers that write the code that run the NYSE are in India. The baby boomers are retiring or at least many of them would like to. The next generation the people who grew up with the internet and technologies are coming into their own. They work online, they live online, and they socialize online. They expect technologies to part of how they live, work and play.

People still go to work but more and more are telecommuting. They may or may not be in their pajamas, but the effect is the same. They are working remotely, and they are not in a physical location provided for and controlled by their employer. They work from home, the car the train. They use text and chat and SMS. They work at coffee shops, bus stations and soccer games. The daily commute to a physical location is replaced by communications technologies. The Leonard Woody in 1995 said “work is something you do not something you travel to”. The terms telecommuting and telecommute were first used by Jack Niles in 1973.

The pace at which they communicate with others with in the organization is increased and so has their physical distance from them. They spend in excess of 3.5 hours a day checking email. They behave in different ways and react differently because they are under different workplace stressors than they were in the office. The pace we move at is faster, the information we are expected to process in more, and the connectivity and connection is omnipresent. There is no downtime no “off” time except sleep.

And let us not forget the technologies are still getting better faster and cheaper.

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