Work is now play
By TEE HUN CHING and TEO PAU LIN
WORK is the dirty four-letter word in the new economy.
Nine to five. Monday to Friday. Clock in, clock out. The monthly pay cheque. The yearly bonus.
This rigid old-economy routine may be fast approaching its sell-by date.
Agility marks new-economy slickers who call occupation oh-my-passion.
Says Ms Miranda Lee, a manager with Arthur Andersen Business Consulting: "Employees' allegiance today is to their career, not the company."
Money alone sends nary a tingle down their spine. But throw them a "challenge", dangle a promise of "fun", and you have their attention.
Asked to toss up some new-economy values in the workplace, "flexibility" trips off the tongues of the people at Business Trends and GMP Recruitment Services first.
Says Mr Dhirendra Shantilal, Business Trends' director and group general manager: "Technology is moving so fast. You have to be nimble. What you do today might not work tomorrow."
Adds Ms Khamini V., strategic planning manager at GMP: "The job scope is no longer constant. You can no longer hold a 20-year job doing the same thing."
Re-training, skill-upgrading, multi-tasking are subsets of this function which also breeds a growing pool of project-based free agents. Other trendier values are upstaging traditional concepts.
Empowerment replaces permission, employability blankets security and warring for talent triumphs over firing of workers.
Ms Lee says clients are seeking help to keep their employees smiling more often than to keep their bottomline buoyant.
Dishing out stock options and granting sabbaticals are just some of the tactics.
There is no luxury of a breather, says Ms Khamini.
"Nobody's given a chance. You just have to run."
But the new economy has ample room for some good old-fashioned values -- integrity and quality remain key words.
Mr Eddie Sung, managing director of global headhunting firm Korn/Ferry Futurestep, says: "Remember that high-touch is just as important as high-tech. Don't forget the human touch."
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