Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Workplace and change: the office spouses

The workplace is an environment that changes at such a fast pace that I feel very lucky to interact with people with practical experience at hands. For a successful entry, emotional quotient is a key element. A couple of weeks before the WOW (world of work) training, I never thought of such a connection. I was quite sure that all the theories I have been exposed to would suffice.

To show how fast the corporate environment is changing, intimate office relationships are getting common currency and one of its fastest growing form is the ‘office spouse’. The phenomenon seems to be more in vogue in developed countries as some researches have already been conducted on it, I hope we going to fill this research gap very soon in our developing countries.

To illustrate this phenomenon, this is a story of a pretty 47 year old columnist working for the financial times. Lucy Kellaway has been through six office spouses, actually six marriages. The first two broke up as she has changed her work and the last four where experienced by her in the two decades she has been working for the Financial Times (FT). The longest marriage Lucy Kellaway had was her sixth, which lasted for nearly five years. Guess what; lastly Lucy had just announced her search for the next husband.

Lucy defines the spouse office as ‘someone you see every day and spend more waking time with than your actual spouse’. Talking on the phenomenon, this is what she writes in her article posted on the FT on Monday 20 March: ‘according to Vault, a US-based career consultancy, 32 percent of workers have an office spouse, and the number is growing fast. Although these surveys are always daft, and the figures suspect, the concept is a real one…’.

Bad or good thing, is something difficult to tell and which I do not want to delve into here. It all depends on one’s personal experience and judgmental background. My first impression on Lucy was that, that is too much instability and might affect her productivity. Yet, after I read more on her bibliography on http://news.ft.com/comment/columnists/lucykellaway , I learnt that Lucy was named columnist of the year at the 2006 British Press Awards. Controversial indeed. If one wants a say on that, Lucy expects comments on www.ft.com/kellaway .

Nonetheless, the point I would like to mention is that, trends in the WOW change every single day and one should be prepared to that and make it work at it best. Make it work for you, for your corporate and mostly for the people you serve, your clientele.

We are living in a world whereby after spending almost one third of a day in bed, some people have to spend more than one third of their day at work. Therefore, make sure that you are not only at work, but also to work. Moreover, make sure that you adapt to any changes you encounter. My university syllabi do not predict the next trend within the work place and I am aware of that. Thank you to all our guest speakers who share with us some tips to help us succeed at work and cope with change. Special thanks to the WOW training staff as well and Good luck to Lucy Kellaway.

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