The Future of Work – The Work-Life Integration


Over the last few decades, we have all heard about this the Work-Life balance; many of us have even managed to find it. For some its about getting the right amount of family and social life to balance out the stresses of the 9-5 workday. But as workdays get longer, and smartphones and tablets become more prevalent for employees, we will definitely be seeing a new way of working. The Work-Life integration.

The Chartered Management Institute published a report earlier this month outlining some of the key work changes that will be faced in 2018, and one of the interesting things for me, was the exodus from the traditional workspace. This exodus will be partly caused by environmental pressure to reduce carbon footprints as well as demographic pressure of an ageing population, leading to a blurring of boundaries between family and career. I also personally feel that many commuters are now getting so fed up with poor transport infrastructure, whether on the road or the rail, that working from home is best way to optimise a lot of knowledge workers time.

So what does this new way of work mean to me, I hear you cry?  Well as someone who has already embraced the work-life integration, perhaps an insight into my life my help. My head office is just outside London which takes me 2hrs to drive to; I have a satellite office in Reading which is just over an hour to get to; both these travel times exclude the additional rush hour delays of course. I also have my home office in the Cotswolds that takes me less than a minute to get to; it is a nice quiet space with a Cisco home office kit including secure access into my Office network. I also have an work laptop, an iPhone and a personal iPad.

So if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I have a new West Highland Terrier puppy called Archie. He likes waking me up before 7am every morning without fail. So I get up, have breakfast and turn on my iPad to start catching up on all my project activity and messages on the Cisco Social Business portal Quad. Once I’m up to speed on activity, I put my boots on and take Archie out for a walk on Minchinhampton Common. Luckily for me, there is good reception up on the Common so I can keep in touch with email and make any early morning calls. After about an hour I come back home and work for the rest of the morning in my home office, including various video and web meetings using WebEx. If I need to have a Telepresence conference meeting, I drive to my Reading office obviously now avoiding the most of the traffic. I may stop off on the Motorway Services to have a Flat White coffee and complete some work actions on my iPad from earlier; the wif-fi is free. When I get home I often relax, go to the gym and then have dinner. In the evening I’m on my iPad working while my other half watches her programmes.

The fact is, every day may be different, but the key success behind it all, is that I can work from anywhere that has 3G or wifi access. My company has given me some tools, I have also bought my own. My office is no longer the building just inside the M25, its now anywhere I go. A lot of the baby boomer generation feel that working from home isnt really working. But for me, I am at least 20% more efficient when I work the way I do. I also think the quality of my work is better as Im less stressed and able to think outside the box better when required. According to Chartered Management Institute, we’ll all be working like this in the future, which should decrease the amount of cars on the road and increase the number of available seats on trains. We can also see an increase is trade for pubs, restaurants and service stations who will now be filled with more people tapping away on mobile devices. Just don’t forget to turn them off occasionally


Virgin Media enables Flexible Working with Cisco Social Collaboration Software

If you follow my twitter or LinkedIn, you would have seen me post this video earlier in the week. Its a great reference study for Cisco’s social and collaboration solutions. I met some of the Virgin Media guys at the Cisco Collaboration Summit in Barcelona a couple of months back and they were raving about Cisco Quad, Jabber and WebEx. They said that since they implemented the solutions, 77% their employees felt that they were more productive than before. This is a huge figure and points towards the Enterprise moving away from the inbox to a more Social, more Collaborative way of working.

If you watch the video, you can also see that many of the Virgin Media employees are using multiple devices; Macs, PCs, iPads and smartphones. This goes back to my true belief of what Cloud Computing is; a similar user experience across multiple devices, wherever you are.


Mobile Collaboration – New Forrester Wave

Here is the latest Forrester Report outlining the leaders in Mobile Collaboration. Forrester looked at a number of factors (15 criteria total) when creating this Wave, including enterprise readiness and cross-platform support. They also only considered cloud-based applications that worked across multiple mobile operating systems; this meant that vendors such as Apple, Microsoft and Blackberry werent considered.

However this Wave is new one for Forrester and it sort of shows; I dont think you can really compare Web Conferencing solutions with file storage. It doesnt really make sense. A list may work, but not a wave. Saying that its great to see Cisco still riding high with WebEx, its a great collaboration solution and works on pretty much any device. To me, thats the true meaning of Cloud Collaboration.


The decision to include only cloud-based apps is an indication that the future belongs to the mobile app Internet, which is application architecture defined as “an architecture of native apps on smart mobile devices linked to cloud-based services that provide a context-rich experience anytime, anywhere.”