Recently we have delivered many intranets for recruitment companies, and at a presentation to a specialist recruitment agency today I was reminded of something the MD of one of our first recruitment clients said to me many years ago – that he wanted the intranet to be really important to everyone – but only outside 9 am to 5 pm!
While this was said mainly in jest – his main point being that he wanted staff to concentrate on making calls and placing deals – I remember at the time thinking that this was yet another UK company that just didn’t get the value of modern web platforms.
In one of those moments when seemingly unrelated thoughts get all connected up – I was traveling back from the meeting listening to a Wharton podcast on an interview with Pico Iyer. – the interview can be found here and if you have time do listen to it. Its much better, in my view, than reading the text – mainly due to his natural erudition that comes across in his discussion rather than in the literal transcript of a phone interview.
One of the basic messages in the interview is that being able to switch off from the connected world is incredibly important if we are to gain a deeper understanding, and put things in a better and more lasting perspective. He talks with great insight on how hard this is to do – his own solution is basically to spend time in monasteries and cut off in his life rural Japan – even though he writes for major publications headquartered in the USA, as well as publishing his own essays and novels.
He is very honest that he feels privileged to be able to unplug himself from what he views as largely noise, and acknowledges that for more conventional employees this is almost impossible. He is also quick to validate the liberating impacts of modern technology in less privileged parts of the world.
Fascinatingly to me he discusses companies like Intel that have quiet times where employees are ‘disconnected from machines’ – as they recognize that from these quieter times come deeper insights and higher valued ideas that Intel needs to increase innovation.
So it seems to me that for all the wrong reasons that MD of a recruitment company many years ago might have had a point – modern web platforms and connectivity have great value – but not all of the time!