Technology: Friend or Foe?

Technology: Friend or Foe?

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If you work 48 weeks in the year and spend a conservative 5 hours per week commuting to and from work, you’re spending 240 hours a year driving. This takes time away from family, hobbies, friends, and much more. How can technology be leveraged to acquire that time back?

Up until recent years, the only option for working was to physically go into an office to put in your 40-50 hours weekly behind a stuffy desk surrounded by people you may or may not enjoy working with. As technology has evolved, so has the flexibility of if you work at the workplace, at home, at the beach, or any other locale.

While technology does make it easier for employers to permit telecommuting, there is still a trust factor that comes into play. There are ways each employer can quantify productivity differently, but some companies are simply more comfortable knowing for certain their worker is at their desk during a specified time daily. Another consideration for employers is the morale of employees that are not working from home while another is permitted that luxury. If they have 1 happy employee and 10 disgruntled employees or 10 content workers and 1 disgruntled employee? As opposed to examining the struggles for companies that are faced with this decision, lets examine the technologies that allow working from home to be a fact a lot more frequently than it was 20-30 years ago.

If an employer decides to allow telecommuting, there are several tools on the market that safeguard their investment.

· Worksnaps: This tool allows an employer to monitor how productive the work-at-home worker continues to be throughout the day. There are less detailed tools available but this one doesn’t leave a good deal of space for a work around by the worker. Beyond monitoring the time spent in effective applications (Facebook not being among them) the tool takes screenshots of the employee’s monitor throughout the day to be sure the worker is productive while activity is showing on their PC. They will even count the number of mouse and keyboard clicks.

· Web: This is quite obvious but probably the most important tool. The internet lets you communicate with members of your team, your company, and any external customers. Many companies have online products they use for home databases or other tools that are crucial to job duties of the workers.

It provides Microsoft based tools to individuals no matter where they are on earth. Google docs can be accessed to share documents whether for informational purposes or for each member of a team to edit the document. If you do not have Microsoft programs on your home computer, this is a great way to use them. They do not have the most current advantages of the current programs, but it is going to operate in a pinch.

· Trello: This is a popular tool that enables project management across your group regardless of everybody’s location. This can be used for individuals to organize to-do lists or track projects, so everyone knows where the staff is at. The program permits you to break the project into segments that could be more closely observed as the project progresses.

· Zoho: This is just another project management tool, but it seems to have an abundance of features including overlapping features I’ve already discussed. There is the capacity to track time spent on jobs, offers graphs and written documentation of the progress of the specific projects the team is working on, a calendar that the entire team can contribute to and view, Vero Beach Animal Trapping, document sharing capabilities, notes place for documenting specific hurdles or bugs which will need to be resolved. This is only the tip of the ice burg concerning the capabilities of this tool. The cost is relatively cheap as well ranging from $0 to get limited access to $100/month/employee for all access.

· Yammer: This is described as a Facebook for work. This platform enables an employer to send only relevant information to workers. Then workers can communicate within their unique teams to achieve goals.

· Skype: This is a free service that allows face-to-face communication between employees. The tool is internet based and permits you to bring a lot of people into the conversation/collaboration.

· GoTo Meeting: This is a excellent tool for webinars because it will permit you to broadcast to tens of thousands of people who join. Moreover, for the ones that can’t attend the meeting or want to watch the meeting for a second time the meetings can be recorded.

· Viewflux: There are several sites geared towards designers, viewflux being one of them. These sites allow you to share your layouts with a group of people. Have you ever wanted someone to change something about a picture and you try to describe in a number of words just what a few words and a arrow could describe? These sites make a world of difference for designers and their clients and team members.

In accordance with Dropbox, this is a safe way to share documents.

· Nimble: This is a great tool for sales people and people with large networks to stay organized. The tool even links conversations you’ve had with these contacts, so that you may recall the contact in that specific context.

These are simply a couple of the tools that people may use when they work from home or even work in the office. The collaboration potential with the resources can simplify procedures which are long overdue for change. Additionally, the telecommuter can easily connect with and contribute to projects that are being working on in the office. With no connections, the telecommuter can quickly be disregarded as part of the dynamic of the section they once worked with in person.

While some could argue that society is more disconnected from one another than ever before, consider that technology is not a hindrance to our efforts to communicate but rather a benefit. I would maintain that society is communicating more efficiently, more often, and more effectively than ever before due to technology.

Imagine having the ability to work from 7:00-4:00 and being able to start dinner at 4:05 rather than 5:05. Now you have time to patiently help the kids with their homework, easily pick up the kids from soccer practice, spend time focusing on your spouse. The pressure to get things done can decrease as the level of technology increases if we leverage both. What will the ability to telecommute mean to your life? Do you do it currently?

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