In the 1970s and 80s the drinks company made famous the phrase

“Any time, any place, any where – it’s a wonderful drink you can share, Martini”

For the last 40 years the Martini stripes have been on motor racing winners, from Formula 1 to World Rallying.

They have now moved on and their marketing dollars are spent on George Clooney. He is very good as you can see from this ad, but it is not the same as a Lancia Stratos snorting through the Welsh woods on the RAC Rally. Yep, I’m a petrol head.

But that is not the point of this post.  Have you noticed that the term I am at work does not mean anything for a huge swathe of the workforce.  The self employed, the road warriers (sales and consultants) and senior executives with responsibilities  that span the globe.  At work used to mean a place, not an activity.  Any time, any place, any where.

Technology is making work more portable for lots of people. It is blurring the distinction between work and non-work.  Before work life balance was about leaving the office earlier. Now there is no office to leave. So work-life balance is even more important to get a grip on which is why this TED video is so insightful.

The new world of work is also blurring corporate boundaries. Outsourcing, shared services and sub-contracting arrangements are now possible –  work mash-ups – enabled by technology. Suppliers become a critical part of the supply chain. A point that UPS  makes clearly in their recent ad campaign We love logistics. But we need to make sure that these artificial boundaries are not visible to the customers, who themselves are becoming part of the supply chain. Just this week I was a grocery store check-out operator, a book retailer order entry clerk and an airline check in and baggage handler. All unpaid and untrained self-service.

Business leaders need to recognise these changes and think about how to redesign businesses to make the most of our most valuable resource; people.  But equally they need to consider how they measure them. They cannot be lazy and use the old metrics of ‘hours in the  office’. They need to really understand what they want people to do so that they can choose measures that motivate and reinforce the behaviours they need. And that again starts with a true end to end understanding of the process.

This sounds like change and change is hard. But the benefits of this new world of work are huge;

  • greener; Why travel to work when you don’t need to?
  • gives control back to people; Can work make your life work as parent, carer, part-time student?
  • happier  staff are more productive; Fact

We need to embrace the new world of work.  I’ll drink to that.

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