Our society demands connectivity. Through constant Facebook and Twitter updating, texting and the like the millennial generation has become all too adept at "staying in touch". Technology has allowed us to maintain relationships. Now, not only are we able to keep in touch with old friends, but we can also work alongside people with whom we may never have the opportunity to shake hands.
Within living memory, computers have moved from the environments of enterprises to devices in our pockets. Social media have trumped traditional media. Most recently, the cloud has appeared making massive amounts of data and applications available anywhere there is a connection to the internet.
The result of all of this is that today we are faced with the phenomenon of hyperconnectivity. The term refers not only to the myriad means of communication and interaction, but also to its impact on both personal and organizational behavior.
The effect of hyperconnectivity is that the limitations of time and space have largely been overcome. Experience is virtualized. You no longer need to be in the same room, or even the same country, as your colleague to accomplish what used to require face-to-face contact. Hyperconnectivity confronts us with both benefits and challenges. It can be a powerful tool for collaboration that drives global alignment and increased efficiency. At the same time it has very rapidly changed the way many tasks are performed, and people are expected to accommodate those changes.
It is no surprise that hyperconnectivity has and will continue to have a deep impact on the workplace: it affects the way we work and connect, especially with colleagues. Hyperconnectivity creates new business model opportunities and new ways of working: because of the proliferation of new mobile devices and increasing broadband speeds, connecting people has never been easier. Web 2.0 social tools and the hyperconnected workforce are eroding many old work paradigms: from work locations to work hours.
Workforces are becoming more virtual, and the 21st-century workforce will need to utilize various technologies to stay connected to one or several business networks. In addition, the workforce will need to utilise collaboration tools and techniques to increase productivity and engagement. In this manner, benefits such as enhanced productivity and improved decision making can be realized.
Hyperconnectivity will also impact the organization of the labor force. Major structural changes will include shifting patterns and proportions of workers who are part-time, share jobs, and telecommuting from any location.
Since these technologies and the related hyperconnected tools are here to stay, HR departments must learn how to deploy them effectively to their organization's’ advantage. Policymakers and business leaders must surmount significant challenges if they are to ensure that the workforce is adequately trained to be able to manage the increased pressure and stress levels of working in an ever-connected environment.
The best way to deal with hyperconnectivity is with its exact opposite, something that in last years is going missing: real human contact. In a corporate environment this means fostering internal networking opportunities for those employees that, otherwise, would never meet. To do so, large organisations have always relied on team building activities and enterprise social networks. These solutions, while being very effective for other purposes, are not very useful to boost the creation of new links between colleagues.