Studies have shown that far from remote workers skiving on the golf course they generally put in more hours and are considered more productive that their colleagues who fly a computer at HQ.
Sitting in my local pub recently, clutching a cryogenically frozen San Miguel and pondering the meaning of life, I realised that two modern plagues – terrorism and environmental change – could speed up adoption of new working strategies using cloud computing technologies and BYOD.
Terrorist attacks are intended to cause widespread disruption not least through the grid locking of the transport infrastructure and depending on the severity can cause companies millions of pounds/dollars/Euros etc through staff not being able to get to work. If the corporate building is destroyed or damaged through terrorism the situation is substantially worse, but the effects of terrorist attacks can be lessened by applying some business continuity common sense and a good dash of BYOD.
Likewise with environmental factors. I am not convinced about global warming as where I live it is more like global wetting, but by adopting the more loose description of climate change, then I think we can agree that we have problems. Here in the UK we have had unusually harsh winters for the last three years and a long period of mini ice ages is being predicted.
This is, of course, nothing compared to other parts of the world where entire cities disappear under a layer of snow in September and don’t reappear until March!
Key staff audit
With both scenarios employees not being able to get to work can cost an organisation a serious amount of money. So what is a poor CEO to do? Enter BYOD.
First of all the organisation must look at staff and assess who is key to the ongoing and smooth running of the company. It should then, with permission of the individuals concerned, carry out an audit of their residential IT capabilities and create a strategy to enable those people to work from home in the instance of a terrorist or environmental crisis. Access to corporate email, word processing and spreadsheet files, the ability to hold remote conference calls with colleagues … all this technology exists now and is easy to implement. BYOD is not only possible it is essential.
Organise a “crisis committee” where employees can brain storm or mind map whatever you prefer to call having cognitive processes on the exterior of cardboard package – sorry, I just hate the expression thinking outside of the box – and create scenarios and develop solutions. Look at the work processes within the organisation and maybe construct virtual teams that may not have a lot of interface in an office situation but which can work together as a unit in the cloud.
There is a host of services out there that facilitate online co-operation and which ease the management of virtual teams and they are pretty cost effective. No-one is expecting you to get the IT department to suddenly create a turnkey solution in house. Why reinvent the wheel? By embracing BYOD engaging staff to work elsewhere is a cost effective rationale.
They key to all this is, as dear old Baden Powell who created the scouting movement said, is to be prepared. Prevarication could be very costly.
I appreciate that this applies to one sector of business which is commercially office based and is by and large irrelevant to other sectors such as retailing. But here the clever use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook can keep a shop’s customers fully informed of what is going on and gives the impression that a retail outlet really does care about its customers.
Ultimately it is better to Carpe Diem – seize the day – than carpe jugular – to be grabbed by the throat!