Claire Simmers, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Expertise: Technology’s Role in Work and Life Balance, Generational Differences in the Workplace, Organizational Culture and Innovation
Identifying New Ways of Working
The workplace – and its culture – is undergoing tremendous change, according to behavioral strategist Claire Simmers, Ph.D. The loyalty model, like the gold-watch sendoff, is out the door. In its place is the independent contractor model, she says.
“It’s a temporary relationship,” Simmers says. “The organization doesn’t owe you much, and you don’t owe the organization much.”
As the use of mobile communication devices – think cellphones and iPads – increases, employers face greater challenges in monitoring employees’ cubicle time. “Organizations have to figure out a way to get loyalty and productivity in this connected world,” says the co-author of The Internet and Workplace Transformation. “It’s not just face time. But what do you produce?”
She also has argued in her book that access to the Internet at the office is not all bad but can bring advantages by fostering flexibility, allowing global connections and providing infinite information.
Gen X and Gen Y expect unfettered access to information, bringing widely different expectations to the workplace than Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation, who continue to toil into later years. Simmers has explored the tensions among this multi-generational workforce. “If people cannot afford to retire, that doesn’t open up job opportunities,” she says. “Organizations must find ways to create community, even if the relationship is expected to be short term.”
Currently, Simmers is researching spirituality in the workplace, focusing on values about self, other people and the planet among different generations.
She has also edited several books and contributed chapters on Web use in the workplace. She has published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior and Cyber Psychology, Social Media and Social Behavior, among others.
Simmers has done numerous media interviews on work/life balance with outlets that include CNN, The Associated Press, Newsweek and local television stations.