Well no doubt by now most organisations are running round ensuring that they are prepared should the present swine flu outbreak become pandemic. Lets hope not. From personal experience here are the things that people tend to not think about when planning:
If childcare facilities close parents won’t get to a normal place of work or be able to work normal hours.
More employees than you think may be called away from work to support statutory authorities due to their involvement in voluntary activities which may be called upon (certainly in the UK several voluntary agencies are included in the Civil Contingencies Act: St John Ambulance, British Red Cross, Salvation Army and WRVS).
Are your managers and team leads ready for distributed teams (many will be but many won’t be)?
Can people who use desktop computers do their work from their home computer?
I now have 2 voices. We have a new internal platform which allows me to blog and use live writer. So when access to C3 is rolled out to all CSC’ers you can go check it out.
The power of blog authoring tools
We’ve had other tools internally where I could have “blogged” through a web interface. I found I couldn’t sustain any input because I love the simple type and click option in live writer (the ability to type and write at times when I may not have access to the web). So I’m hoping that the authentication mechanism survives and I can continue using live writer. The proof is in the fact that in just a few days I’ve probably blogged more internally than in the previous 12 months.
Its really helpful to have a good internal blogging platform as it means I can write much more (there is so much we all work on that we can’t publicly discuss). I feel a sense of release and hope to use the internal blog to give people more of a flavour of what I do and the directions I think we should be heading.
Personal productivity is an area that I constantly strive to improve on and for those long subscribed here you’ll know I frequently share working practices. Since I took a new role last autumn mine have had to change. I recently had some time off and this system really helped me get back on track. All my tasks are in Remember the Milk and most of the tasks get there through direct messages from twitter (heres how). My mantra for task management now is:
Get everything into remember the milk (RTM).
Quick review daily to prioritise new tasks and define delivery days/times. RTM allows 3 priorities. Also during this daily review I’ll cross off completed actions.
Print the list daily and highlight today’s targets.
Look for calendar time for the most urgent actions.
Weekly thorough review with re-prioritisation.
I don’t use the full GTD methodology though I do like having an empty in-box (never quite achieve it but its generally small).
As my work has become more intense I’ve had to increasingly use priorities. I now find I generally run on about 3 pages of actions when printed out. The first page generally contains all the high priority actions (in fact I should stop printing the other 2 as I rarely get to look at them).
I feel less stressed (sounds silly doesn’t it!). I have more work, more actions, more people wanting my input or deliverables from me yet I’m less stressed. All my actions are in RTM. If people chase me I can be polite and explain that they are on my list but not yet the highest priority. I find I don’t get major pushback either. I’m getting more done than before and I put this down to a combination of prioritisation and blocking time in the calendar for tasks – sure I get interrupted or diverted to other priorities but it seems to be working for me. I hope it can work for you too if you are struggling. Love to hear your stories.
Last Friday Charlie (@chuckstar76) and I caught up in a newly opened cafe at Astley Park. While there is nothing unusual in this, I’m a firm proponent of getting somewhere different and away from the office, what was great was we found a hidden Gem. Not the cafe as that was a bit overpriced, slow service and small portions. However, just round the corner to the cafe (the cafe is actually in the refurbished coach house of an old hall) is Astley Hall.
Its now owned by our local council and had free admission. I know the place well and wanted to show Charlie where I got married (as we hired one of the rooms back in 2002).
One room of the hall has this exhibition running, What a superb 5 minutes to take the brain away and into another place. Reminded me of the hidden gems we can all unearth when we give ourselves some time to explore:
It was late Friday afternoon. I was looking forward to the weekend. I hadn’t responded to a voicemail from earlier in the day … then I got on the follow-up call, just a quick question. Well it turns out the account director for one of our customers could see huge potential for collaboration and will talk to the customer CFO. Excellent news as always – I love people who bring leads rather than having to create them. The real work here though is that the CFO requires figures on cost savings and return on investment rather than my preference for talking about value. Sure we can talk brilliantly about savings associated with removing the need for travel but its much less tangible and quantifiable when we get to collaboration based on knowledge, documents or social networks.
Inside I was thinking about org culture, likelihood of adoption, propensity to collaborate, specific processes/projects/business challenges, key events and many more. Assessing all these factors will help understand what the business needs to collaborate on, and with who – following that point we can get to an appropriate collaboration tooling before some proof of concepts and pilots. Articulating this will be the key for success here…off we go on the adventure. Incidentally, I really liked Hichcliffe’s post last week about ROI of enterprise 2.0 tools.
Am I the only person who prefers to talk value over cost?
This video shows a vision of how technology becomes a 6th sense for people in their everyday lives, really interesting to see how this shapes from research process into real technology in the coming years:
This for me is a little weaker than 6th sense, however I can see it being really useful for certain use cases and people, the example of people who don’t want to use computers is good. Other examples I can think of are rail tickets (write “return ticket to preston” on the pad and the machine prints your ticket after appropriate payment).
Virtual Worlds and how they may be integrated to the enterprise – link
This really focuses on touch and smart surfaces of all kinds. I really like the ideas around using your finger as a mouse and the potential flexibility intelligent surfaces give for input of information. Not too sure on the visualisations for outputting information in this video but these things will be tuned with time.
What is clear from all these videos is that if we thought change in information technology had been rapid in the previous 10 years then its absolutely nothing compared to what we are going to see. I love the thoughts about a 6th sense, that of information available permanently wherever I am and in context of what I am doing. I’m looking forward to the rollercoaster which will take us there! Its also going to be amazing to watch where 6th sense adoption takes place first, I’m guessing it won’t be the west where we are PC/Laptop device oriented and more likely to be China where mobile devices are the predominant form factor.