From VUCA to VUCAH: remaining productive in a hyper-connected future of work

December 06, 2019

Bye-bye VUCA World!

Welcome VUCAH World!

The acronym VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) became popular not long ago and quickly became a buzz world. Organizations developed strategies to deal with this new reality impacting people while academia produced papers trying to explain this new reality. The funny part of this is that the VUCA world did not wait for us to adapt to it, and it quickly challenged us with a new component: hyper- connectivity.

Yes, the world today is not only volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous but it is also hyper-connected. People are living in an exponential spiral which is continuous speeding up due to a multiplication of ways of getting connected. All of us experience an enormous amount of messages assaulting us everyday through our mobile phones, laptops, tablets or even on the streets, public transports, restaurants… We are permanently hyper-connected and losing control on what we want to see, hear, answer. This is having a tremendous and unknown impact on people and organizations.

How many of us have already felt intruded while driving our car by a voice telling us about the traffic without being asked or suggesting a destination where we do not want to go? The same thing happens to organizations. How many of us have already felt desperate trying to manage messages from clients, colleagues or the boss coming through e-mail, messenger, WhatsApp or SMS? This hyper-connectivity is challenging people and organizations putting under tremendous pressure in terms of time management, focus, concentration, and prioritization.

Hyper-connectivity is increasing levels of stress and burn-out around the world, and it is time to seek solutions and risk mitigation plans. Some countries, like France for instance, are approving legislation that gives employees the right to disconnect after work hours and during the weekends. This means, that organizations will have more difficulty managing flexible hours schemes. But there are less radical solutions that can be taken at an organizational level, such as encouraging people to meet face-to-face, promote more off-site brainstorming or help people to manage their choices.

The paradox of choice is intimately linked to hyper-connectivity and will probably be one of the key challenges for people and organizations in the coming years. We live in a paradox of choices. The act of choosing is no longer something natural, it will become a competency that connectivity can leverage if it does not derail into hyper-connectivity.

Diogo Alarcao
by Diogo Alarcao

CEO, Portugal, Mercer