Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Working Together Remotely

Are you getting tired of out of the office reminders from co-workers when they’re not on vacation? I can understand not wanting to read email or other correspondence while we’re away at the beach, but I’m not sure that business travel, off-site meetings or even being in different countries should mean that we’re unavailable anymore.

The mobile enterprise isn’t just about not being in the office. It also demands that we adopt new behaviors. I think this represents an impass that many organizations find themselves at when it comes to supporting mobile and remote employees. Employers are still not always comfortable believing that work is being performed as expected when they can’t see the process taking place with their own eyes. Employees can contribute to the potential misconception by not using today’s common workplace tools designed to address presence-related issues.

When I’m out of the office I make an extra effort to be responsive because I don’t want my co-workers to consider that distance or even time zones (generally) should inhibit our ability to collaborate, even in an ad hoc fashion. The new behaviors that I’m trying to learn need to go further though. While I’m never far from my email I know that I should be using IM more, especially for rapid-fire discussions around content that I’m working together with others on. Using basic workflows might also help reduce the time I waste searching through email and RSS would be a much better way for notifying me about web site updates.

So what’s all of this got to do with enterprise content management? That all depends on how you choose to manage it I guess. From my own experience I’ve learned that it’s all got to work together without much hassle or “mobile me” isn’t going to succeed. My workflows must send messages to my blackberry or iPhone. My documents need to all be stored in a web-enabled repository so that I can share secure links to them with co-workers. Managing and sharing content must become seamlessly integrated with my own mobile work style or I’ll have to put that “out of the office” notice on my door again the next time I leave.

How’s mobile content management working for you?

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