It’s personal productivity-themed "Work Wise Week" this week and this immediately makes me sceptical. Are online work management tool companies going to start trying to ply me with their wares? Are we about to be bombarded with top ten lists of tips for personal productivity filled with blindingly obvious common sense suggestions and sponsored by vendors who, guess what, have a solution to offer in this space?
Working from home as I do, I find that the pen and paper ‘To Do’ list far outweighs the potential benefits to be derived from my Palm Treo or Mac Entourage’s automated versions. That said, the issues for homeworkers arising from this possibly rather contrived ‘themed’ week appear to stretch beyond purely connectivity and security issues, which have dominated more than their fare share of headlines in this space to date.
Web scheduling platform vendor Doodle (see, I told you there was going to be a one of these guys lying in waiting) is fond of talking about new ways to streamline working practices and reckons that that five hours of the average UK manager’s working week are spent purely arranging meetings. But do online scheduling tools really represent the “dramatic” reduction in time spent on this activity that Doodle claims it will?
“Although there is nothing new about homeworking many firms will be looking to increase it as a way to reduce costs and improve efficiency and staff morale during Work Wise Week,” said Doodle CEO Michael Näf. “Meetings are an inevitable part of business and we have proven that the current way we tend to schedule them – via email volleys, calendar notes and phone – is a massive drag on productivity. This becomes even more apparent when employees are off-site.”
I don’t know, there’s some sense in these tools I guess. I do like this company’s “voting style” option for meeting arrangements which I have in fact used. A so-called ‘transparent view’ of everyone’s preferred choices (for times to meet) is presented and you just click to arrange. It is in fact really easy and fast to use and it does what it says on the tin and works very well.
Heading out the door this morning to meet with Gateway and Intel – and not sure of my Adobe meeting later on as it’s not been properly scheduled I guess you could say that I am a prime target for this kind of technology.
The UK government backs more flexible working, and homeworking can drive streamlined business methods and increased use of thin client apps in ‘the cloud’ that we then adopt in the workplace – and that’s according to, Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK, the organisation behind Work Wise Week.
Once again I’m sceptical; I once had the misfortune of working for a division of the DTI known as UK Trade and Investment for a year or so and I’ve seen the government’s attitude to work from the inside – or just a little bit of it down Victoria Street at least. I wouldn’t trust the average civil servant to be able to manage much more than arranging the biscuits for his or her next meeting. Let alone be able to handle an online scheduling tool. But who know, maybe this kind of technology will be so intuitive that it’ll make the difference that we need to see.