IT's future--how about 20-hour work weeks?

Gartner predicts that in just eight years, IT will have to cope with a loss of tradition work/home boundaries during a work week of just 20 hours.
Written by Gemma Simpson, Contributor
CIOs need to prepare for the 20-hour working week as social models and technologies change to promote a work-light future, analyst house Gartner predicts.

By 2015, more people will spend less time in work as companies surrender to individual demands to retain more experienced and skilled workers.

Brian Prentice, research director of emerging trends and technologies at Gartner said as IT becomes woven into the fabric of people's lives, traditional work/home boundaries will become obsolete and a "digital free-agency" will emerge.

The "digital free-agency" is a term coined by Gartner to describe how professional and personal computing requirements are being blended to enable different working models--such as working from home and part time roles.

Prentice said: "CIOs need to prepare for the arrival of this new work phenomenon, which is being driven by political, social and technology changes."

These changes include the move away from a single bread-winner family model and the shift away from the conventional view of retirement as the end of working life, said the analyst house.

Prentice added: "The additional pressures of an ageing population and skills shortages will lead to the adoption of digital free-agency and flexible work structures as social, political and business necessities."

Traditional nine-to-five work structures are inhibiting people's ability to juggle personal and professional responsibilities and the 20-hour working week is designed to retain skilled workers who are not able or willing to work 40-hour weeks, according to Gartner.

Gartner said the potential power of this combined demographic will be a "force to be reckoned with" by governments and businesses around the world.

Prentice added CIOs need to accept the fact there will be an increase in jobs with shorter working weeks and develop specific governance strategies to take a more proactive approach towards this predicted business change.

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