“I’m not in front of my computer at the moment”

Earlier today I was on the train. It was packed. The whole carriage was being forced to listen to a Monday morning inane conversation about whether, ‘Lisa has approved that payment.’

Jamie — for that was how the chap introduced himself during multiple calls — was at pains to point out that he, “Wasn’t in front of his computer,” and so couldn’t do anything. Apart from read his email and make calls.

Many companies make this kind of behaviour commonplace by preventing their employees and teams from getting anything done when they’re out of the office. Unless you’re carrying a flipping huge Dell laptop that needs to be secured by no less than six different “factors” before you can open Excel.

How long will it be reasonably acceptable for people to use the (often valid) excuse that they’re “not at their desk” as an explanation for why something can’t be done?

If you leave aside the usual IT problems with connecting remotely, I often find folk don’t do anything when they’re out of office because they can’t run Word, Excel, Powerpoint or some stupidly old back-end “application” can’t be accessed remotely.

Is it time yet for companies reconstruct their technology operations to enable work from anything and anywhere?

I wonder. Probably not. For most, being able to work fully from a mobile device is not yet a business critical requirement. Indeed I wonder how much of the UK workforce still defines “working” as being sat at their desk with Outlook open?

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

2 replies on ““I’m not in front of my computer at the moment””

THats has been my complaint about computing n general since it became something more than a passion 12 years ago. Having a PDA with the right software then meant I could do nearly anything. iR tethering to my mobile meant I could do more. And later, a smartphone (Treo, then later Nokia) took that further. I those cases, a working outside of work was limited by security or legality. And after a while, there w no way that I would connect my personal devices to company systems when there was no provision for my device to be insured, the data to e encrypted by default, or even sense in terms of availability. The workflows and processes of the office just couldn’t keep up with the ability to get work done anywhere, and I suffered, as do others.

What is needed, and what I think the Olympics will do for London/Washingtokn DC and others, is that it will force many of these systems and processes not just to update, but to actually find some value or relevance to actual work. If 6 layers of security is needed, but it isn’t accessible, then something else needs to be designed. If system X is on a mainframe and cannot e accessible except thru a Java-engine, that means the incentive to rewrite the system, or better develop access methods to it.

It’s not hard to revitalize how it would work. It’s hard to pay for it and resource it when you realize just ow much needs to change.

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