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Written by Sheila Willey   
Tuesday, 28 October 2008

As technology changes the way we work, it also changes the way we spend our time at work. Recent technologies, such as cell phones, BlackBerrys, e-mail, remote access, and video conferencing, have changed the traditional boundaries of working and learning.

In the past, the culture we were raised in largely defined our perception of time. I have recently become acquainted with two words that help define a modern attitude toward time: Monochronic and Polychronic.

Monochronic Polychronic
Attitude toward time:

Does one thing at a time.
Tends to be punctual.
Regards time as money.

Attitude toward time:

Does several things at a time.
Less rigid regarding schedule.
Regards business as a form of socializing.

Source: Edward T. Hall

One can work effectively using either method, or a combination of both methods.

New time boundaries have also changed the way we learn. With e-learning, there are numerous choices to expand our knowledge and skills. Never before have we had such a wealth of information at our fingertips that can be accessed at any time.

The rising generation is comfortable multi-tasking – moving quickly from one subject to another. Reading e-mail or texting in the middle of the night is common. Work, research, development, and learning are all intermingled with social networking.

A monochronic manager may need to recognize polychronic employees in the workforce and not be quick to label them as lazy or unfocused. Judging the way an employee learns and works, instead of the results of that work, may lead to an organizations’ loss of some of its best employees.

Sheila Willey is a product manager for the Church.

 

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