Matching Technology Needs to Business Strategy - Part 1

Technology and Work/Life Balance

Most business owners and managers tend to recede into a manner of "doing the basics" as best they can, aware that there is a better way, but always being wary to expose themselves to a myriad of consultants - each with a seemingly compelling argument to open the cheque book.

Just like death and taxes, a couple of technology developments are inevitable.

You cannot divide work and personal life completely.

I watched for years as business managers tried to limit what employees could do with work equipment. The notion was that "I supply you this device for work - what you do outside is not my concern". This often resulted in employees carrying multiple devices or trying to circumvent security.

Anyone who's seen Jurassic Park knows that "life will find a way". Employees become the frog DNA which enables applications and devices to proliferate, irrespective of what the Business tries to limit. Time and effort is expended on both sides in a pointless game.

Smarter business managers find ways to help their employees balance home and work life. It starts with hiring someone who wants to succeed and transitions into equipping that person with all the tools they need to strike that balance.

I had the privilege of working at an accounting firm where the technology was taken to a level where folks were struggling with why they actually needed to come to the office any more - I think it was coming down to the free coffee and needing a reason not to do a load of laundry just before that all important conference call.

The remote access system was dynamite, folks could take their desk phones home, integrated with their smartphones - colleagues and clients had no clue where people actually were. I remember talking to a colleague once who said they were "coming down the corridor" to finish the conversation, only to discover that I was actually in a McDonalds in the UK - the communications were that seamless.

Many employees believe that having a company supplied smartphone is equivalent to a death sentence but I always found it to be a liberating experience. As long as people knew they could get me (and I was "connected"), they didn't really care where I was and they didn't ask for things days earlier than they really needed them. It is a question of education and communication.

You may have heard the expression - BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). This is a perfect example of marrying personal choice with minimizing the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). One organization I know gives their employees $2000 every 3 years to buy the workstation (PC/Laptop) and accessories  they want. When they're working, they use this to "tap into" their corporate desktop but the rest of the time they're using it for personal finances or gaming. If it breaks, the firm offers a loaner to tide the employee over while they get a personal  replacement unit.

In conclusion, technology must work in the direction to "liberate" agile employees so that they can deal with a personal situation but still service their clients. There is a way of doing this without sacrificing security and inadvertently you are preparing your workforce to cope more naturally in a disaster. Employees become motivated to embrace these technologies when they see the benefits.

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Next week - "The Cloud" - how to access this technology development to manage your business information effectively, while maintaining security.

Mark can be reached for questions at match@bm2b.ca.  Just enter "Question for Mark" in the subject line of your email.

 

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