10 Characteristics of the “New Workstyle”

The Gist blog has a nice entry about the “New Workstyle”…

“way of working that blends the latest technologies and tools with daily activities allowing people to accomplish more in both personal and professional endeavors, accelerate ideas, and lead more productive lives.”

Unlike workflow defined by static process for everyone to follow, workstyle is unique to the individual, using information, technology, and connections as needed.

Gist lists 10 characteristics of the New Workstyle. While I wouldn’t agree with calling it a “new” workstyle, the list does highlight what I see as an emerging mindset among highly productive individuals.

1. Mobile

Always on and aware.

With smartphones more powerful than any computer we started with, the always-on, always-connected individual with the ability to focus on what’s important always has what they need, when they need it. For individuals less organized, the mobile factor is actually a downfall to their productivity and increases stress levels. You have to know when, and how, to use the computer in your pocket, and when to ignore it.

2. Connected via hi-speed/broadband access

Has high bandwidth connections.

To use online tools to their fullest ability, we know we have to have a strong, reliable backbone to support it. A dial-up connection just won’t do, we need the bandwidth and speed to improve productivity and lessen the time it takes to do tasks.

3. Self-sufficient

Have their own equipment which is often superior to what is provided by their employer. …Demonstrate resiliency in their ability to navigate and thrive in an increasingly ambiguous workplace and world.

Highly productive connected individuals know what it takes to get the job done, and how to use them. If employers won’t offer those tools, they invest in them themselves, knowing they will get their investment back ten-fold in recognition for good work, and free time when projects are finished quicker. They are comfortable and eager to use new technologies, but don’t let themselves get distracted playing with the ‘newest, shiniest’ toy on the market.

4. Virtual

Location independent with minimal impact on contribution.  In fact, productivity is higher as the lines between work time and personal time blur along with designated work and personal locations.

Having, and knowing how to use, good, reliable remote tools allows us to get more work done, in less time, from anywhere. We can often complete a last-minute task thrown at us even tough we are on vacation, with minimal impact to our free time or families, because we know how to get it done fast, and right, so we don’t have to do it again.

5. Broad personal and professional on-line networks

Meaningful connections across social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn that are not just collected and counted but leveraged and often engaged around questions or for advice.

We know Twitter is much more valuable than seeing what co-workers had for lunch or how they hate their job. And that Facebook is better at connecting us to companies and products than to people we barely remember from high school. We also know how to use them all to have a little fun. It’s not all work, promotion, and networking, but the play does have a huge role in our work as well.

6. Productive

Not just obsessed with productivity, but owns the concept and applies it to focusing on outcomes and accomplishments versus activities. Is always looking for tools and methods to improve an already productive daily pace.

Not much to comment on this one – it’s the one trait of ANY highly productive person that makes them what they are. Knowing tasks are more than just a series steps, but instead seeing how they relate to the bigger picture of a project, or even to our long-term goals and desires.

7. Off-line driven

An important dimension of the new workstyle is both a consciousness and focus on off-line, person-to-person interactions facilitated by on-line tools and forums.

To truly use online tools and mobility applications to their potential, we know we have to make real, live, human connections to the people involved. This goes back to how we use social media, as well as time spent in forums and commenting on blogs.

8. Balances work and personal lives

Combines work priorities and commitments with personal pursuits throughout the day and night combining flexibility with increased overall productivity and contribution to both.

This is the tough one – and I believe it’s one characteristic that we exhibit more in desire than in deed. While we strive for perfect balance and more free-time, we often invest more time into work. I think this often comes from knowing that if we don’t do it now, it will be much harder to take care of later, even if now means doing while lounging on the beach with the spouse. Much to the spouses dismay.

9. Gives back

Thinks beyond themselves to causes, community, or others less fortunate and uses their connections and resources to make significant contributions.

We realize the advantages we have, and where we have come from, and have a real desire to make sure than the things we believe in are there for the next generation. In my case, it’s a love for public libraries. Growing up, there was no way my parents could afford to buy us books (especially when i devoured as many as 2 books a day), but we could afford a bi-weekly trip to the local public library. And as a young adult, the availability of every bit of knowledge known to man to a poor, single mother with 2 young children was what opened the door to me being able to go to college, and in time, begin my career as a public library director. Now, even though I no long work in the public sector, I want to be sure those same opportunities as I and my children had is available to every other person who wants it.

10. Intellectually curious

Constantly seeks out new and betters ways to work by experimenting with new tools, listening to others, and critically examining the things they do and why they do them.

When you stop learning, you stop living. One of the things in common with every highly productive person I know is their hunger for learning, and fear of stagnation. They are never content with the skills or knowledge they have, and are always trying new things, teaching themselves new technologies, or taking on new hobbies. They also read, and read A LOT, across varied subjects and genres.


Have I missed anything in my interpretation of the 10 traits of the ‘new workstyle’? How would you describe your workstyle?