Is on board office work really getting more efficient?
Operations Editor Jack Hogan is not sure the reality on board matches the promised productivity…
In a generation, superyachts have transitioned from operating with intermittent connectivity, analogue file storage and solely radio communications, to being in a state of near-permanent connection with instantaneous communication to shoreside networks. The theory is simple...digital is more efficient, faster is better, connectivity is king and our lives are getting easier...right?
Georgetown professor Cal Newport coined the term "hyperactive hivemind" to describe the new system of interconnectivity and fast-paced one-way communication, such as email and Slack, that has since taken over the business world. But has it taken hold offshore also?
Superyachts are larger today than ever, with complex systems. However, we are also reassuringly informed of the groundbreaking organisational software and shoreside support networks that are always marketed as 'ahead of the curve'. Is it reasonable to assume that the captains and heads of department are now handling their systems and accounting with ease, allowing for more time to dedicate to hands-on work, time with guests, and perhaps even...time for themselves?
My observations in my own career on board are that we remain as busy as ever, with no sign of slowing down. And it has had me asking the question: Is there an endpoint in our quest for efficiency? Or will there always be a checklist of other lists to arrange and a never-ending email chain to scroll through? I'm not sure whether, in reality, these technological developments have genuinely improved our circumstances, working conditions, or levels of efficiency - and that we may even be faced with a paradox whereby these tools designed for greater efficiency are delivering so much information they are resulting in quite the opposite effect.
Anyway, with this quandary in mind, we would love to hear the opinion of senior crew, on whether this is indeed an issue facing the sector. If you have a view on this topic, please contact me directly, email@example.com. Alternatively, please see the short survey here.
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