Seize the moment, seize the data

Big, live data is starting to drive our businesses day-to-day and that information is fast turning into a real time measure of the health and activity at  of workers at work.  Imagine that overworked senior executives have their stress hormones monitored 24/7. Armbands with sensors can pick up your movement over the day as you walk around your new activity base work place. Keyboard input is measured to tell you to take a break. What our minds are doing at work is just as important as what our bodies are doing.

Second to second across the day, what we think about shifts, consciously or unconsciously. We are paid to focus on our tasks to get work done but our busy minds wander. I think we are a long way away from having  our brainwaves measured real time as we work (possibly a good thing) but what seems to be missing here is our personal experience of work moments over the day. If we think of all those moments over the hours of work coming together as an experience we can talk about, no matter how simple, this should be a way of getting some idea of the quality, the success or failure, of work.

Simply put, effort is put in and work done, the results for the person doing the work and the business can and should be measured over the days and weeks closer to real time. This sounds a little “out there” but already there is evidence that good work is made when people have a sense of progress moment to moment and within the day. To find out more you can look at the work of Professor Amabile at Harvard university who uses a journal of people’s experiences of work. A yearly engagement survey can hardly  pick up early enough what needs to be changed. Just last week I was shocked to learn that health and safety advisers in a major organisation DID NOT want to learn about the experiences of their workers day to day, much less moment to moment. Why? It makes sense to get a measure of the whole of the worker at work, thinking about the mind body connection, rather than just half the story.

Here’s the way we capture people’s experience at work closer to real time. Click here if you’d just like to share your experience of work. Doing this is the next step in helping employers make more sense of the chain of moments which make up the work day for people at work and becoming effective in getting to 'good work'.