Gartner’s 20 hour week – not for me!

I’ve seen some buzz regarding Gartner’s Brian Prentice and the “Digital Free-Agency”.

I tend to side with Jonny Bentwood on this one. I’m still struggling to get my manager to see the benefits of me telecommuting once or twice a week, let alone blending my work life totally with my personal live via cutting edge devices that struggle to get more than 5 hours battery life.

My personal take is that many companies are still trying to gain the TCO and hourly increase in productivity promised by Gartner and Meta back in 2003/04 to upgrade their workers to notebooks.

With that said, Brian does touch on an interesting point from a consulting/niche specialist point of view (yes this post does have something to do with CI, in case you were wondering).

As populations grow older in mature, Western markets, there is a real opportunity to have guru’s in various industry fields take part in fairly dynamic interactions with corporations and clients.  Think of it as Yahoo! Answers on steroids.

So I’m guessing when this trend does finally reach that “Plateau of Productivity” I’ll probably be skilled enough and have technology rich enough for me to take part, which is goodness!

My current wish list:

A online application engine that is a combination of social networking and business analytics. Gathering intelligence snippets from a multitude of sources from within user bases, journalists, analysts and enthusiasts – who get paid based on the value of the information and the suitability to the question or situation analysis that I am posing. A whole generation of developers and IT professionals who can provide input on perceptions on products, vendors and solutions.  These sources could well be retired or semi-retired, able to earn some extra money and be part of a community of experts.  Very cool and that’s where your 20 hour week may well just work.

A few barriers to entry though:

  • Having the technology available for people to reliably contribute and interact online from wherever they are at any time. We really aren’t there yet.
  • Having a flexible contract or employment laws so that users can trade their marketable skills across several clients (even in the same industry?)
  • Getting corporations to get over the telecommute hurdle, as well as the job description hurdle – jobs need to be task based, rather than functional.

In the meantime, my stakeholders are still pulling ridiculous hours and it’s up to my CI team to keep them supported. So when they start pulling 20 hours, I guess we can.


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