THE NEW WORLD OF WORK
• London firms are now sending typing to Taipei. To survive London typists must realize they are competing with Taipei typists. They must learn to “add value” (e.g., know more software programs or more languages than their Taiwanese counterparts) or else
they’d better learn to love pounding the pavement.
• The FI Group one of Britain’s largest software systems houses employs about 1 ,100 people, most of whom are part-time freelancers who need toil no more than 20 hours per week. More than two thirds of the firm’s work is done at home An told, employees live in 800 sites and serve 400 clients at any time.life at FI is captured in the November 1988 issue of Business “Chris Eyles, project manager, sat down in her office in Esher Surrey and called up the electronic ‘chit chat’ mailbox … The printer began to churn out messages. ‘Help!’ said [a message] from her secretary, based a few miles away in Way bridge Somewhere in the Esher area a computer analyst was in trouble … Eyles checked the team diary and her wall plan located the analyst and the problem, and set up a meeting at FI ‘s work center in Horley, 25 miles away
• So who’s left to sweep the floor? A visit to a 3M facility in Austin, Texas, suggests that 1 floor sweeping, food handling, and security guarding are fast becoming almost as sophisticated as engineering. Computer-based floor sweepers and new security systems call can for a sophisticated worker in virtually every job. A new highly automated facility belonging to the huge drug distributor Bergen Brunswig is illustrative. Most manual work is done by machine. Work teams that dot the facility are not so much in the business of “doing” (by old standards). but in the business of improving the system. They are brain-involved, improvement-project creators not muscle-driven lump sifters. There is no room on the staff for anyone who sees himself or herself as a pair of hands punching a time clock.