“Going to work” to many of us means taking a car, or a train, or a subway, or a bus, to commute daily to the office. But as we find new ways to work, we begin doing the traditional commute less and less, and we begin utilizing alternative work environments, in particular, working from home or the coffee shop. And, as we no longer search for work-life balance, but more accurately, work-life integration, I am curious about one fundamental aspect of the new way to work that IT managers are not leveraging.
Simply, why do organizations buy their employees a computer or in many instances, a phone? The company doesn’t pay for the employee’s car, or pay their bus fare directly. Are knowledge worker based organizations missing out on a cost savings opportunity? Most of these type of employees already own a computer and a smartphone. And seriously, how many tablets does this employee own? I bet it is at least one, probably two or more. So, if every employee already owns a personal computer and a smartphone and a tablet, why are organizations still buying employees a computer and smartphone when they join the company? And then that equipment needs to be maintained, upgraded, etc? Why? Why wouldn’t an organizations IT department take that money and pour it into improving the internal IT infrastructure (e.g. security, collaboration tools, etc) necessary to enable any employee to work anywhere, anytime, ON THEIR OWN DEVICES (BYOD). The company saves money, both in terms of equipment purchases but also in terms of support (can anyone say “Genius Bar”?). The company can then take that money and reinvest it into tools to make that mobile worker more productive.
What is most important about this? Not the money (though that is huge), but it is the humanity (*human experience*) of the solution that I think would be so appealing. Employees will be happier with greater work flexibility, and ability to use their own devices, and they will work more (truly blurring work-life) and they will be more productive. And the secret truth of every IT organization is – they don’t want you to have the latest technology – is because they can’t support it. IT is not some terrible monster that wants to make sure every employee stays on WordStar and Lotus 1-2-3. Every new technology requires significant investment and requires new support capabilities. So, erase the problem. We all feel that IT gives us “last year’s technology” and isn’t as good as what we have at home. So, let’s use what we have at home. I really don’t understand why this simple employee morale booster and cost saving idea has not gotten more traction. We all want to work from anywhere, in a new way to work mentality, so why not do that?