Mobile Work LifePreliminary findings from an ethnographic studyDr. Sam LadnerPostdoctoral Fellow, Ryerson UniversityPrincip...
Overview• About the project - Why mobile work life? - Method• What we found - Is work/life balance being affected? - How i...
Mobile Work Life              We will add to current              understanding of these now-              ubiquitous devi...
How is mobile different?• You are contacting a person not a  place• You’re talking to a person in  changing, multiple soci...
Why Mobile Work Life?
Method
I get called once every three weeks or so outside of                     office hours....So it’s non-standard stuff happen...
I have now sort of reduced it and I’ve also reduced the                    number of accounts that go to BlackBerry. Yeah,...
The “Panic Culture”• Culture matters more than the  technology itself• Individual users will act in  accordance with their...
Bringing the home into work                     I answer it or not, depending on what I’m doing. If I’m in a meeting      ...
Yeah, [my dad] sent one out the first time, he sent out                       his ah, dinner plans. We went out on, what w...
Not all technology is “business”technology
BlackBerry brand perceptions                                                             I have one friend who...is in the...
iPhone brand perceptions                                                               Right now, I have an iPhone, 3GS, a...
Sowhat?
The end of the                Filofax?We are going to getbusier.
Time implications• Managing time continues to be a  major obstacle in people’s lives. Make  it better by offering digital ...
The new “culturalcompetency”          Managing a smartphone                takes savoir faire
Cultural Implications• New cultural competence of choosing  the right channel for the right social  context. That goes for...
Your organizationis mobile andimmediate, evenwhen it stands still.        Watch out for speed over        substance
Organizational• Organizations may have more speed  than sense - Be aware what the allure of immediate   communication may ...
More questions...• What are the specific features of a  “panic culture?• How systematic and generalizable  are the differen...
Sam Ladner, PhDsladner@copernicusconsulting.net@sladnerhttp://mobileworklife.ca
Mobile Work Life Preliminary findings
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Mobile Work Life Preliminary findings

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  • Good morning everyone! Thank you all for coming. Today I’m going to be talking about a basic research project I've been working on. This project is close to my heart as it's aimed at deep understanding of this thing we call the mobile device. This isn't something any of you would pay me to do as my client. A lot of my clients like me, strangely, to focus on their brand. Who knew!\n\nBut today, I'm going to be talking about basic research at its best. We got this funding through SSHRC and hosted at Ryerson to ask questions that a lot of you may have a hard time funding but questions that we want to know nonetheless.\n\nSo I still have my private sector life, but this is me doing an "art film." I continue to do Bourne Identity films, but this one is more of Blue Valentine. Let me tell you about it.\n
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  • The Mobile Work Life project is about understanding how smartphones are affecting work/life balance. The first phase, which we are just doing the analysis of, is ethnographic. It’s a qualitative investigation which included home-based interviews, “ride along” interviews and in-office interviews.\n\nWe are still planning on the second phase, which will be a survey. We’re actually in the process of developing quant variables right now.\n\nBut today I’m talking about this phase and some of the deep insights we’re sifting through right now.\n
  • Like all academic research projects, we did a comprehensive literature review. A lot of us who work in industry, myself included, often skip this part when they do research. But it can be very helpful. It helps you frame the ideas of what you’re looking at before you actually go out there and look.\n\nI’ve pulled out a couple of threads for you that are relevant to MarCom types in particular. \n\nMobile is different because:\n- you were once calling a place, where your behaviour was appropriate to that place. Now you’re calling a person, who could be any place. \n- they are in different places with different norms of appropriate behaviour.\n- and now they have to navigate the “appropriate” channel of communication, be it text, voice, email, BBM, etc.\n\nThe mobile phone basically makes it harder for social actors to be “appropriate” because of the changing location and the myriad of choices to make. It is a social disruptor.\n
  • Why study work/life balance? What does that have to do with mobility? This is photo from inside one of our participants’ homes. Notice the interesting configuration of the living room ottoman. What do you see? Well we have a book. We have a laptop. We have some remotes. We have a keyboard and a mouse, but where does that go? \n\nIn short, this picture symbolizes the mixing of something that used to be considered only “work” related, that is, the computer. We focused on the smartphone because a) it’s new and b) it’s coming home far more than other workplace technology.\n\nIn a former study I did, I noticed that laptops were doing precisely this: sitting in the living room. You can actually look up that paper called “Laptops in the living room.” We argue that understanding mobility through the work/life lens can tell us a lot about what this smartphone thing really IS. \n\nSure it’s a piece of hardware. It’s got software. But what is it as a cultural artifact? What is it doing in society?\n\nAnd we already know anecdotally that work/life balance is changing. We suspect it’s got something to do with these things. The word “crackberry” means something. We wanted to find out what.\n
  • As I mentioned before, we did what are called ethnographic interviews. These are field interviews conducted in context. We do that instead of just doing focus groups in a room or interviews in a conference room so that we can see the environment where things actually happen. \n\nAs you can see here, we went into people’s homes. We looked at their technology and their environments. We asked them about these technologies, focusing first obviously on their smartphones. \n
  • So our basic question was about work/life balance. We found that it’s not really a problem....for some people.\n\nWe know that work is affecting home life. We know that it’s invading the home in small regular ways. Note that “you’re not on call, but you’re expected to be around.” This is from a senior person in a non-profit organization who occasionally has to handle emergencies. He doesn’t find it unmanageable or unreasonable, but it does indicate that the firm division between home and work is gone.\n\nMobile frees us, but it also takes away from us, as this college instructor told us.\n
  • But there are some cases when it is an extreme problem. Here’s an example. This professor was working on an international project. It was a high-pressure project that spanned multiple timezones. His blackberry turned him a “doctor’s pager” in a way. He was always on call.\n\nWe found this again and again. It’s not the blackberry that is the problem. It is the expectation of the organization that is exacerbated by the blackberry.\n
  • We call this the “panic culture.” The organization sets the tone for how employees are expected to respond. We can even extend this to the family. Whatever group you are embedded within, that is the norm that you pick up. \n\nSo when an organization has a norm of hyper responsivity, that is how you respond even with a desktop computer. But when everyone gets smartphones, this cultural norm gets exaggerated. \n\nThe smartphone is an immediate communication device. The organization can turn that into a liberator or a chain. \n
  • We also found that the smartphone actually brings the household into the workplace. The boundary is permeable, but not as permeable as work coming home. It’s subtly different.\n\nYou’ll see here that family members are using the smartphone’s immediate communication ability to try to get in touch with their loved one who’s at work. These workers either choose to ignore it, like Jeff, or they CAN’T answer the phone, like Jim. \n\nBut notice here, that the choice of channel really matters. There is no longer a “phone call” to work, but a PIN. The home is coming into the workplace, through the smartphone, but the workplace is not becoming somehow less important. It still sits at the top of the hierarchy.\n
  • One of the most interesting things we found is that people are adopting workplace technologies to help them manage the home life.\n\nThe use of the electronic calendar for home-based activities was the most interesting. People are beginning to use these, as Frank says. He’s even trained his DAD on how to set up social events using outlook invites.\n\nBut something really fascinating happens when both partners have electronic calendaring on a mobile device. They begin to use it to manage household events. It’s a way of managing the home the way you’d manage a workplace. We think this is very significant because everyday life is about to become scheduled in the same way that workplace life is scheduled.\n\n\n
  • We’d like to give you a complete rundown on the BlackBerry vs. iPhone insights, but we’ve only succeeded in getting a taste of that. But we will give you that taste! Everyone wants to know how they differ. Well we’ve got something more akin to clues than trends, but we hope to investigate that further in the next phase.\n\nFirst, we notice that the iPad is a sneaky little device. It’s been making its way into bedrooms! Even bedrooms where people ban smartphones. See, it doesn’t look like a work device. It feels like a fun device. And this particular one is actually a work-issued iPad. This participant uses it at work everyday and while he parks his BlackBerry in the front hall, the iPad comes all the way into the bedroom.\n\nHe switches from work to personal use quickly. So there is a consumer feel to apple devices that really doesn’t reach the blackberry.\n
  • Here’s a taste of what people are saying about the BlackBerry. You’ll note that it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. It’s not “hip” or fashionable. It is a work device.\n\nThis symbolism is important and can maybe explain why the BB is more of a contentious device in the home than, say, the iPhone. It looks and feels like a work device.\n
  • But the iPhone is different. Not everyone was completely enamoured of Apple products. Some people had “meh” to say about some apple products. \n\nBut note how the iPhone looks to be “gateway” product for other consumer products. And the BB elicits stronger negative feelings than the iPhone does.\n\n
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  • The Filofax was one way to speed up life. We could delegate the memory of appointments to the book. But everything was handwritten, so we could only book as many meetings as could fit inside the book. We could only change it as many times as was possible in terms of the paper space.\n\nBut now, we can book appointments immediately. And remember we are sending these appointments not to a “place” like a desktop computer, but to a person, who is carrying their smartphone everywhere. So we can send invitations effortlessly. We can update the events quickly and efficiently and with minimal cognitive effort. Essentially, we’re suggesting that smartphone calendaring will lead to an increased scheduling of time, to the point where our brains can nary handle the capacity for all the appointments we have. \n\nThis is significant for Marketing and Communications. Every time you ask for someone’s attention, remember how busy they are. They are looking for things to solve their time poverty: tools that alleviate the constant schedule. And they are cognitively fatigued from managing so many changing contexts.\n
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  • We also know that the savvy smartphone user is starting to develop a new cultural competency: how to use the smartphone is changing social contexts?\n
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  • Mobile Work Life Preliminary findings

    1. 1. Mobile Work LifePreliminary findings from an ethnographic studyDr. Sam LadnerPostdoctoral Fellow, Ryerson UniversityPrincipal, Copernicus Consulting
    2. 2. Overview• About the project - Why mobile work life? - Method• What we found - Is work/life balance being affected? - How is home life changing?• Blackberry versus iPhone - What’s the difference?• So what? - Implications of the findings
    3. 3. Mobile Work Life We will add to current understanding of these now- ubiquitous devices, with a particular eye on their effects on work/life balance.
    4. 4. How is mobile different?• You are contacting a person not a place• You’re talking to a person in changing, multiple social contexts (home, work, “interspace”)• The smartphone wrinkle: - You have your choice of “channel”: voice, text, email, calendaring and “apps”
    5. 5. Why Mobile Work Life?
    6. 6. Method
    7. 7. I get called once every three weeks or so outside of office hours....So it’s non-standard stuff happens outside of standard office hours, but it’s really what they pay me anything at all for. So yeah, it’s outside of what HR -- “Jeff.”Manager in his 50s officially tells you with respect to you’re not on-call but you’re expected to be around. Well, my kids are actually, have made that comment, like why are you always on your phone? They don’t understand I’m taking two hours out of, I’m cutting my day short by two hours to pick them up, feed them and take them -- “David.” to whatever, practice or event...I think it actually, College Instructor in 30s like I said, it’s getting some free time to, flexibility. So it’s taken some pressure off. Work/home conflict is minor....
    8. 8. I have now sort of reduced it and I’ve also reduced the number of accounts that go to BlackBerry. Yeah, I’ll wake up in the morning and there’ll be a couple. However, I do check in the middle of the night, often. Well, not so much now that I moved it away from the bed, but it used to be quite often. What was it like to have those emails coming in and to kind of be on-call like that? -- “Mike.” -- InterviewerCollege Professor in his 30s Um, it was real intense. The emails was just one part of it. Obviously, it was a real intense work environment but it sort of manifested by email. And um, yeah, there were Saturday nights at 2 am where I would get an email and I’d have to get up and get to work. So um, it had to be on at all times. ...except when it’s extreme.
    9. 9. The “Panic Culture”• Culture matters more than the technology itself• Individual users will act in accordance with their organizational and familial cultures
    10. 10. Bringing the home into work I answer it or not, depending on what I’m doing. If I’m in a meeting or having a conversation with you, even if it’s her, I don’t answer it. She’ll leave a message....So I’m reasonably in control of my life, both here and at work, and we can manage that stuff without being -- “Jeff.” rude to you and answering that phone every time it rings.Manager in his 50s I don’t use voicemail...and that drives my dad bananas because he doesn’t understand. He’ll go oh, you didn’t answer it. I keep calling and you’re not answering it. I’m like, yes, Dad, that’s because I can’t talk to you. -- “Jane” Technology worker in her 30s Wait till your father gets home. That doesn’t happen any more? Instead the contemporary version would be what a PIN? Pretty much. I’m going to PIN your father and tell him right now. -- Interviewer -- “Ken.” Manager in his 30s
    11. 11. Yeah, [my dad] sent one out the first time, he sent out his ah, dinner plans. We went out on, what was it, Friday. He sent an Outlook invite. Yes, yes. After much convincing, the same when he didn’t have a cell phone, that’s how we came around to this. So it’s very -- “Frank.” Lawyer in his 30s convenient. We also manage our lives very much through the calendar. We share a calendar so we know when hockey practice is or whoís picking up. So we send meeting invites back and forth between ourselves. -- “Ken.” Manager in his 30s Wait a minute? Meeting invites? You send each other meeting invites for hockey? Hockey, birthday parties, swimming lessons, picking up the kids, like this weekend Emma’s got a birthday party and I’m going to a literary -- Interviewer event so I just do a meeting invite so that he-- Ken’s wife Dana Business owner knows. Otherwise we wouldn’t know. in her 30s Managing the home like you manage work
    12. 12. Not all technology is “business”technology
    13. 13. BlackBerry brand perceptions I have one friend who...is in the fashion industry and he buys and sells clothes and online, and he’s really particular with trends. And he ditched his BlackBerry about two years ago. He said he doesn’t want anything to do with them ever again. He has like a, I think he has an Android phone now but um, he predicted that BlackBerry -- “Frank.” Lawyer in his 30s was going to fade away, which is what the news said as of yesterday after their stock went down 30%. [My BB] is purely a work device. I don’t use it for anything other than work. But with the ipad...is what really starts bleeding your work and your personal life. It’s a fun device and it’s a work device. So I use it a lot for work and this I do keep charging beside -- “Ken.” the bed cause sometimes I’ll watch videos streaming from the Manager in his 30s server. And the kids use it. Everybody can use it but nobody else uses the blackberry. -- Ken’s wife Dana Business owner in her 30s
    14. 14. iPhone brand perceptions Right now, I have an iPhone, 3GS, and I have, from work, use of a BlackBerry Torch which normally sits in a box in my drawer because I hate it. -- “Derrick.” Designer in his 30s My work gives me BlackBerry which I rarely use. I only use it in office but I find myself using the iPhone for work more, even though it’s not supported by work. I find myself using the same -- “Ryan.” device that I use for leisure at work, and only in front of the boss I Technology worker in his 30s use the BlackBerry. Well, um, I’ve become softened to Mac products. I was a PC girl and there’s a big thing between the two, so I was softened to them because of the phone and more recently because I bought this laptop. -- Alicia Non-profit worker in her 20s
    15. 15. Sowhat?
    16. 16. The end of the Filofax?We are going to getbusier.
    17. 17. Time implications• Managing time continues to be a major obstacle in people’s lives. Make it better by offering digital tools to manage time-based activities. - The home is becoming a place to manage using digital technology. Help consumers manage their homes. - Households most likely to use digital technologies to manage domestic work have two partners who use electronic calendaring at work.
    18. 18. The new “culturalcompetency” Managing a smartphone takes savoir faire
    19. 19. Cultural Implications• New cultural competence of choosing the right channel for the right social context. That goes for brands too! - Personal communication during work hours is rarely via voice. Anything relating to the home should be in text format.• The networked individual is constantly negotiating multiple social contexts. - Allow people to segment personal v business easily. Social spheres are colliding (look at Facebook). Make it easy for them.
    20. 20. Your organizationis mobile andimmediate, evenwhen it stands still. Watch out for speed over substance
    21. 21. Organizational• Organizations may have more speed than sense - Be aware what the allure of immediate communication may do to substance• Personal technology is already in the workplace - You need to learn how to manage your personal life using your work smartphone
    22. 22. More questions...• What are the specific features of a “panic culture?• How systematic and generalizable are the differences between BlackBerry and iPhone users?• How widespread is the use of electronic calendaring? - All to be answered through further survey research
    23. 23. Sam Ladner, PhDsladner@copernicusconsulting.net@sladnerhttp://mobileworklife.ca
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