How Technology is impacting Global Business not so brilliantly
Apocalypse When is the title of an article in the May/June issue of Buying Business Travel. It highlights the dangers of a Technology meltdown in Global Business Travel and shows us how increasingly reliant on technology the industry has become. It paints technology as saviour and sinner, with the ability to enable the global travel industry to run smoothly when all is well and as an overwhelmingly disruptive force when it all goes wrong. Besides this over reliance on technology there is a parallel problem technology brings to the table for business fliers to grapple with.
The shift to the Digital Age means businesses are open 24 hours a day seven days a week. The global marketplace and globalisation has decreed an always on always available stream of information as pertinent to business success. Access to this stream of information is in part reliant on Wi-Fi technology. Being able to access information whenever wherever is as much a problem as an enabler of business, especially for business frequent fliers. Let me explain.
This always on, 24 hour seven day a week connected lifestyle is responsible for creating a new environment which has become so influential that it has added the words Electro-sensitivity and Electro-smog to our vocabulary. The 3G 4G and LTE standards are incarnations of the technology driving this field. This electrified field envelopes us in a positive charge which is neither desirable or healthy. The establishment and use of this man-made technology is uncontrolled and poses a threat to our health, especially the health of business frequent fliers!
An infographic by the company PC Housing highlights the extent of the problem click here It seems business travellers own a minimum of 3 devices and reach for them first thing in the morning and last thing at night and even while on the toilet!
The positively charged business flier boards a plane whose environment exacerbates the condition and contributes to jet lag and reduced productivity. If business fliers are able to get rid of this positive charge on a regular basis their travel health along with their symptoms of jet lag would improve dramatically. It goes without saying that the corporate world as a whole would benefit from this increased productivity.
Until now global business has paid little attention to this insidious effect of technology. How long can the corporate world go on ignoring the cost? A New York Times survey states that productivity is reduced by as much as 20% for jet lagged business travellers. A survey performed by PriorityPass the airport lounge providers also says that jet lag is one of the most persistent problems its frequent flier membership faced.
There is no end to the laments and faux pas of high-profile politicians who have made mistakes on the international stage and blamed it on jet lag. One of the most famous was the US Secretary of State Dulles who blamed the escalation of events which led to the Suez Canal crises on jet lag.
The connection between technology, jet lag and productivity is not readily made however in an environment where technology is playing a greater role it needs to be addressed without delay. One of the topics of the Open Forum at the World Economic Forum in Davos 2011 was Corporate Burnout, The Latest Fashion? Poignantly one of the observations was that the fragile corporate worker is being replaced by the stressed out corporate worker. It seems to me that it is less about Apocalypse When but Apocalypse How. Our technology needs to be healthful as well as helpful.
Buying Business Travel
New York Times
Open Forum Davos 2011
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