Are You Hyperconnected?

ScreenshotIf a recent research report by IDC (sponsored by Nortel) gets some traction, a new word will likely enter the web-worker lexicon: hyperconnected. After surveying 2400 members of the “global information workforce” in 17 countries, the IDC folks performed a cluster analysis of communications and connectivity habits. Those at the cutting edge – the hyperconnected – use all sorts of new technology and applications for both business and personal reasons. They juggle an average of 7 devices and 9 applications to connect to the network and represent 16% of the workforce.

As a Web Worker Daily reader, our guess is that you’re either already hyperconnected or in the next (and largest) group that IDC found, the 36% “highly connected” who are using fewer devices and application but are on their way to hyperconnectivity. Their prediction is that we’ll see up to 40% of the total information workforce hyperconnected within the next few years.Here are some of the other characteristics of the hyperconnected portion of the workforce, according to IDC:

  • They cluster in the banking and high tech industries.
  • 60% are under 35 years old, and only 7% over 55.
  • 63% have WiFi at home.
  • They listen to more MP3s and play more networked games than others.
  • They’d take their laptop before their wallet if they had to leave the house for 24 hours.

Sound like anyone you know? One of the most interesting findings is that hyperconnected folks don’t think of themselves as early adopters – they see hyperconnectivity as normal. This may be tied to another aspect of this way of working: they tend to work for companies that are good at bringing in new and advanced technology for people to use.

One aspect of hyperconnectivity spells trouble for traditional employers: if you’re in this category, you probably don’t see any separation between work and life. Hyperconnected employees are likely to check their work email almost anywhere and any time – but they’re also likely to use work computers and networks for personal use. It stands to reason that if you’re immersed in email and Facebook and Twitter and wikis and so on, you won’t want to back out of the flood for such arbitrary divisions of your time as “work” and “leisure.”

Overall, the report paints a glowing picture of hyperconnectivity as a fulfilling and normal way to live, while pointing out the danger to employers that don’t keep up as more of their workforce enters this state. It seems likely that more and more employees are going to take such things as company policies on computer use and the availability of connectivity into account when deciding which job offers to accept. If you believe that this is a valuable part of the labor pool, then you have to stay attractive to them to stay competitive.

(top photo credit: Flickr user MikeBlogs)

Are you hyperconnected? Do you want to be?