Are you flexible enough?

A recent study by Orange has revealed that more and more job-seekers are flexible blog imageprepared to work flexible hours in their first job.

Out of the 1000 students that Orange questioned, over 53% said that they expected to work on a flexible basis, either working remotely or out of the traditional office working hours.  A further 69% said that this option was of high importance to them.  Gone are the days of graduates expecting the standard 9-5 working day for their first job – remote and mobile work has become such an integral component of corporate life that now there seems no need to even be in the office.

But what will this do in the long run to office mentality and general company well-being?  Will the annual Christmas party be a room full of people who have only ever communicated via conference-call or online, unable to recognise one another face-to-face?  Flexible working is undoubtedly a convenient way to work – you can chose your hours if your life is too hectic to fit to the 9-5 regime, or if you don’t have the means to get to the office, you can stay at home or go to the local Starbucks and login remotely.  Life no longer has to fit around work – today work can fit around your life.

These new statistics come at a time when Facebook has just revealed its worldwide population of over 500 million users, who collectively spend 700 billion minutes per month on the social networking site.  This undoubtedly confirms the influence of technology and the growing importance of social media in today’s world.  Access to networking sites in their first job also came high up on the list to graduates – 43% felt that access to sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn was integral to building up contact lists for their professional development.  Social networking is no longer confined to keeping in touch with friends and family; it’s fast becoming the most important way to connect with potential clients, business partners, and new employees.

Max Taylor, Director of Corporate Marketing at Orange, commented on his findings.  “Today’s graduates are far more digitally savvy than their counterparts of ten – or even five – years ago.  They expect to be able to work on the move and make use of tools like social media and the internet wherever they are.”  Yet despite the increased flexibility that social networks provide, there may also be some negative knock-on effects; social networking and modern technology may be doing a very good job at destroying the most basic of human abilities – that to communicate with other individuals.  In a world where technology rules, it is easy to forget how simple things like eye contact and body language make a huge difference in how a person is perceived, but these aspects are instantly lost behind a computer screen.  For the ‘flexible worker’, physical interaction between work colleagues may arguably be less important than the amount of Facebook friends or LinkedIn connections.  Is this the high-tech future we are heading towards?

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