For the month of July, Eric Erickson will be taking over this blog from Julie. Eric is a communications colleague of Julie’s from the IRS Recruitment office.
In the last decade, I’ve seen many changes to how we perform work at the IRS – especially when it comes to how we communicate. When I started my first federal government job more than ten years ago, we basically had two tools to interact with people in other offices and our external contacts: phones and e-mail.
Over the years, my communicator toolbox has filled up with many more instruments I can use to interact with colleagues. My laptop now allows me to work from home, while my cell phone gives the ability to work on the go. In the IRS Recruitment Office, we use a wide array of social media sites to place our messages in front of the people who want to see them. We also have Office Communicator on our computers, which in many ways has single-handedly revolutionized our work. The ability to IM each other means we don’t have to use e-mail or voice mail to ask quick questions.
With so many more options available, I’ve seen one tried and true tool moving slowly by the wayside: voice mail.
Even just a couple years ago, when I worked from home, my VMS inbox would fill up after only a couple hours. Now, I can go literally weeks without ever having even a single message waiting for me.
It seems people are more apt to shoot off a quick e-mail or IM than pick up a phone. Even if they do call – and no one is available – they may forgo leaving a VMS message and shoot off an e-mail instead.
On the flip side, I’ve found the decreased use of voice mail results in two occupational hazards:
1. Since there are almost never any messages on my machine, I sometimes forget to check my VMS more than a couple times a day.
2. Accessing my VMS fewer times a day has actually led me to forget my pass-code on more than one occasion.
So, what say you…is VMS on its way to becoming a thing of the past – or will it always be around?
What other tools do you think may eventually become relics of the work world?