You have the technology…
You’re sitting in a meeting room in your office and want to share an email with your colleagues – so you pop open your ultra-mobile PC, connect it to the internet via wi-fi and launch Outlook.
Or you need to make a conference call so you arrange one on the fly via your VoIP client and that wi-fi connection.
Or you get a good idea while sipping a coffee in the trendy ‘break out’ area, so you IM your boss on your portable, connected system.
These are but three of the most basic examples of how technology can improve productivity in the workplace.
While most companies are aware of the theoretical benefits of a high-tech office, not enough are doing something about it – and investing in the proper infrastructure.
Even here at Silicon Towers, though we have a wi-fi network, it’s often hard to get a signal in meeting rooms. And though most of us have laptops which would allow us to roam the office and work anywhere we like, few alternative workspaces are available and connectivity is spotty, so our portable systems end up tethered to our desks when we’re in the office.
Research bears this out. Business executives are aware of the major workplace types of tech – wi-fi, VoIP, ultra-mobile PCs – and they know technology can impact working styles. But taking advantage of them is not why they shell out cash on an office renovation – they’re after better productivity and cost reductions.
This makes sense to a point. There’s no use in pursuing technology for technology’s sake. Rather smart businesses know it’s about what IT can do for you.
But there seems to be a disconnect because it’s those technologies which can bring about that increased productivity and lower costs. Hotdesking, or having fewer desks than employees, is one obvious example. Enabled by portable PCs and ubiquitous net connectivity, it saves on property costs. Meanwhile VoIP has long been known to reduce long-distance bills to next to nothing.
The tide is starting to turn – 91 percent of organizations allow employees to work at home occasionally, the research shows. And more than half of those who still rely on workers commuting in to the office think this will soon change. But we’re not there yet. What will it take to reach the mecca of the connected workplace? The technology is there so it must be our outdated ideas of how work gets done that need to be overcome.
The editorial staff of silicon.com.
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