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How Will the Virtual Workplace Affect Society?

Although it is not clear what the workplace of the future will look like, it is safe to make certain assumptions. For example, the behavioral changes experienced by the individual will become accepted norms within larger groups, eventually influencing society. Things are terribly inner-twined in cyber space. Many behaviors and actions are related to social and technological dimensions, giving way to not only new behaviors but also language. Sayings like: “Hey I Facebooked you!”  or “Tweet me” treat these sites as if they were action verbs.

Social networking has redefined the way you maintain contact with relatives, friends and co-workers. You may intuitively post a short message on their page instead of calling. Maybe you zealously guard your private life and never accept requests from colleagues. Whatever your inclinations, you are probably communicating very differently than you did just five years ago. You are not the only one.

This is also true of business practices. We certainly do not conduct business today the same way we did five years ago. There is a new understanding of what it means to be global, multicultural or international. Years ago the word international likely meant that the company had offices overseas, or had overseas clients. Today international has been replaced by the word global, which encompasses more than just geographical locations. It includes values, ethics, and morality of culturally diverse individuals. Many values and business practices considered to be more “western” have made their way around the globe. The main language of the internet was and is “American English”.

A good example is the traditional business letter, which has morphed from a formal ink and paper document to a more open, friendly email. Some countries where business was traditionally conducted in formal ways, may resent this western influence, yet after a few email exchanges many business people start addressing their new contact by their first name. It is all part of the new way of forming relationships and building trust through digitally mediated communications. It’s a behavioral change.  It begins with the individual and permeates the organization, then society and eventually become accepted norms.

Behaviors that blur the lines between private and professional are not always positive, yet this change is a global phenomenon. The real problem is that this blending is not always done in a way that acknowledges the value of either part of your life. Often times it is your private life that is ignored, therefore your family starts to resent your virtual job. Globally this is taking a toll on the family, on the quality of life, and on the planet’s stress level. #Virtual Work #PJEffect #RemoteWork