Working Remotely – Work 2.0

Why was Villanova ranked the most “connected, plugged-in, and high-tech campus in the country”? While consistently at the cutting edge of technology, until recently Villanova lagged behind in one area: their legacy phone system.

So what happened after they upgraded to an IP based phone system that complemented the capabilities of their data network? Flexibility happened. Flexibility was the strategic advantage of unified IP communications.

Before the IP based phone system- there was a growing tide. More and more employees were working off campus and there was an increase in missed calls, extra voicemail, multiple call attempts, lack of resources to field calls, etc…

But you can’t downplay the advantages of University and Government employees being able to work remotely. Freeing up real estate and reducing congestion are just two examples of why this new trend is something organizations should be promoting. It also has the ability to increase productivity via creating a higher quality of life for employees who are empowered to balance their work with their life more effectively.

Not only does a unified communications system allow for flexibility- it brings along new perks. IT professionals get increased productivity from the streamlined system-monitoring and administrative capabilities of an IP Telephony platform. Also, for safety and security staff, caller ID support is a real advantage.

End results: employees can place/take calls from their personal computers wherever they are working, protect current investment and leverage IT team experience by integrating system with current data equipment, create work-life options, caller ID, E911 enabling first responders to know exact location of emergency, and better crisis alert capabilities.

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I think working remotely also is a great way for COOP (continuity of operations) with issues like swine flu or other disasters. Plus it helps retain quality individuals and tap into talent spread across the nation and the world. It’s good to see universities and government moving in that direction.

Matt Norris

Great topic!

We have been discussing this and the benefits.

One thing i am concerned about though is the ability to measure work vs time and end result. When i approach my supervisor with requesting a day to Telecommute I have to create a outline of deliverables to him so he has “something” that can measure work performance.

The question is raised, well what is to stop you from working a side business from home while you are telecommuting? I understand Integrity and Trust are two key factors, but the question was valid.

So, depending on the type of work, how does one measure productivity to justify 9 hours of working from home?

Just some food for thought with this very touchy topic. I very much like the option to be able to work from home in my home office, but being able to quantify my work/measure it is something i am finding difficult in this environment.

Does this make sense?

Brian D. Drew

Great point, Matt- work vs. time seems to be an issue. I’d suggest that this is something, if public servants really want to step out of the box, they should address a little more practically and less bureaucratically.

The way many progressive private sector organizations have handled the issue is: who cares about time?

Does it really take everyone in our “full-time” labor force 8 – 9 hours a day, 5 days a week, to meet their deliverables? Is that an amazing coincidence… some kind of phenomenon of biblical proportion? Or have we just made it be our cultural norm?

A lot of people bail from work at 5:00- when in reality they need to stay. A lot of people stay, and stay waiting for 5:00, when in reality they should just leave because they’ve met their deliverables for the day.

Just because one is sitting at their desk, in front of their computer typing away, does not mean they are working productively. We all know that many people spend a lot of time not working at work. This is likely because most people don’t need 8 – 9 hours. Gasp!

Does time really even matter? I’ve had to work 15 hour days to meet my deliverables. Weekends too. And I did not get paid more. I’ve worked 1 hour days to meet my deliverables. And I did not get paid less.

An employer should focus on develiverables/projects. We are paying you X to accomplish Y. If Y is not accomplished- you’re gone. If Y is accomplished- we’re pleased. Time- who cares?

Don’t get me wrong… this is not for everyone. This is, in essence, what it means to be a professional. What matters is your deliverable. Time is irrelevant.

Also, as govloop mentioned in its post on this topic, remote working is also about retaining quality individuals. Professionals are focused on results.

Being remote does not mean never being around either. From administrative work to executive work – face to face presence is critical. Sometimes there is no substitute for being on site. But there’s a balance, and deploying unified communication systems to leverage that balance is critical. Unified communication systems make this idea much more practical.

I understand that this is touchy; however, I would submit that this is the future. This is a creative way to maximize utility. Side business?? As long as one is not mixing resources, Great Idea!! We need to create more in this country. We need ideas and entrepreneurs.

An interesting thing happens when you create flexibility- people are happier. And as long as deliverables are being met … it’s a win-win…. if you dare to be that progressive.

Patrick Allmond

This is just a great telephone implementation – why the 2.0 buzzword ? I advise people to stop jumping on the buzzword bandwagon.