This Week's Herman Trend Alert

HR in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

May 5, 1999

...Keeping you up to date on workforce and workplace issues

241 days until January 1, 2000

Trend Alert is now received by subscribers in over 25 countries.

The Annual Freshman Poll at the University of California at Los Angeles makes excellent reading if you want some idea of how behaviors and lifestyles are changing. It's been conducted every year since 1966. This year's poll found that 82.5 percent of new freshman are using the Internet for research or homework. About two thirds use electronic mail.

Colleges and universities are re-wiring their entire campuses, including all dormitories, to give students access to the school's main frame computers, networks, and other cyber-services. Some schools, like Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, are providing incoming freshmen with laptop computers.

High school and middle school students are making increasing use of the internet, as well. When they go to college, they'll already be well-attuned to using this technology. As funding becomes available, we'll see stronger use of computers at the elementary school and preschool levels, as well. Dropping prices and increased access for multiple users is supporting greater use of computers at home--by the young students who will soon populate our colleges and universities . . . and our workplaces.

Project this increased computer usage--and comfort--to the workplace of today and tomorrow and you can see the changes ahead. On-line research, database management, shopping, and communication will be natural^×even more so than today. Electronic mail will dramatically increase worker effectiveness . . . and expectations. Round-the-clock and round-the-world communication will intensify, enhanced by real-time translation software that will neutralize language barriers.

The nature of work will change. Reliance on postal and courier services will diminish, as will the use of telephone voice communication (and we're not even addressing internet telephony in this Trend Alert).

Is your business ready for these computer-comfortable people, as customers, employees, contract workers, and suppliers? What about the other organizations with whom you do business? Watch your outgoing and incoming mail. What do you see that can be, may be, should be, must be converted to electronic communication?

This shift is already underway and will intensify faster than you think.

Thanks to Wally Bock for calling our attention to the UCLA Study.

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