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Worker Mobility – The Virtual Workforce

(Part 1 of a 3 part series on Worker Mobility)

You arrive at work, turn on your computer, open your email, and find a message from the VP of Human Resources announcing the company’s new employee telecommuting program. You think to yourself, this might not be a bad idea. Wake up in the morning, put on my sweats, grab a cup of coffee and work from home. You imagine you will finally have a work-life balance, and get to spend more time with your family, something you have been meaning to improve for a while. The number of daily meetings will be cut in half, and you will finally get some uninterrupted time to complete some opportunistic work projects. Ah, this is going to be sweet.

Many companies are converting brick and mortar employees to a virtual workforce as a means of reducing real estate costs. Outsourcing and globalization have taught us we can manage people from any location, but do we really understand how to make people comfortable and productive in their new environment.

As IT professionals we worry about the VPN, laptops, BlackBerry’s, security, and viruses. We seldom think about what makes people productive in an office environment and how technology has improved their quality of office life. When it comes to Worker Mobility, we focus on support issues. How do we do a better job of fixing a laptop, diagnosing connectivity problems, counting the number of Help Desk tickets responded to in an hour, and providing more availability to applications and other in-house computing resources. From a data center point-of-view, we focus on the servers, storage, and networks that support the desktops and laptops. We never really take a holistic view of the “user experience.”

And then, one day, the Help Desk gets a call from a senior executive informing us she is on the road and everything is slow. The entire infrastructure organization drops everything they are doing and works to diagnose a problem that probably can’t be diagnosed. We look at it from every angle, break out our real-time performance metrics and, in the end, just say “the problem is with the network.”

Why don’t we take the time to understand what “slow” really means? How do we measure “slow?” What do we measure? Is slow for one user, fast for another? Does it make a difference?

As business realities drive us to a more virtual workplace, maybe we need to take the time to analyze and design a new model for providing services and supporting a truly mobile workforce. We can provide a common user experience (look and feel, performance, support) whether in the office, on the road, or at home and, by being proactive, help transform traditional business environments and processes into ones that are highly productive and dynamic. First, we must overcome some unusual obstacles.

In part 2 of this series, I will identify some common, non-technical, pitfalls.

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Reader Comments (1)

Замечательно, это очень ценная информация...

таможенных http://www.intermost.ru/contents/62/" rel="nofollow"> отправляете You think to yourself, this might not be a bad idea. Wake up in the morning, [.......

April 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKylie Batt

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