Archive for March, 2010

Work anywhere: is it good or bad for balancing our lives?

Posted on March 28th, 2010 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

In the late nineties I found myself involved in a variety of Work/Life Balance initiatives at Intel. I had led Intel to adopt Telecommuting practices and although I’d proven that [one day per week] work from home had significant productivity benefits, the benefit for employees’ life was pretty obvious too. The ability to work remotely was clearly helping people balance their lives. Then came a new decade, and with it the ubiquity of mobile devices and wireless connectivity, and it became apparent that the same ability was being overused and abused by knowledge workers to the point that 24×7 work.. Read more

Computers in Health Care – Take 2

Posted on March 22nd, 2010 · Posted in Impact and Symptoms

I mentioned in a recent post Lesa Becker’s study of the impact of computer adoption on hospital personnel. Well, I was visiting in a hospital the other day and noticed the wheeled computer the doctors were lugging around to patients’ beds, so I asked staff members whether the move to computerized patient records is a boon or a bane. Opinions varied as to the time impact: all agreed it takes longer to use, with older folks feeling more affected than younger ones; but I was surprised with the reply of the head nurse. She replied with an emphatic condemnation of.. Read more

Nathan’s First Tip for fighting email overload

Posted on March 17th, 2010 · Posted in Individual Solutions

To completely stop email overload, you need to tailor a complete organizational solution; you can get some ideas for that on my site. But I find that many people derive value by implementing some simple individual measures, and I often get asked what the best of these are. So here, for your enjoyment, is my favorite first tip, the one you should take if you were to take one tip  only to the proverbial desert island (assuming they had WiFi on the island): Only check your email in preset time slots each day. This seemingly obvious idea is actually powerful.. Read more

In the wrong hands, IT tools can reduce productivity!

Posted on March 11th, 2010 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

The argument about Information Technology’s benefit to the enterprise seems silly: of course having computers, both in isolation and on a network, has added huge value to industry and business; indeed, they are as pivotal a game changer as the steam engine, the printing press, or (dare I say it?) the wheel. And yet, the discussion is legitimate if you frame it correctly: yes, computers are good in general, but is any specific, given additional IT tool of benefit? In many cases this depends on who the organization assigns it to. You’ve probably noticed this when visiting a doctor at.. Read more

Does anyone notice the red “Importance” icon in Outlook?

Posted on March 7th, 2010 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Much of Email is about attention. The sender of an email wants to secure the attention of the recipient long enough for them to read and understand the message; the recipient, usually inundated with mail, may be unwilling or unable to react to every message in their Inbox. Thus, it is up to the sender to grab a chunk of the recipient’s limited stock of attention. In particular, if a message is truly important, the sender wants the recipient to realize this. Outlook offers a way to mark the importance of a message, by setting its importance to High. This.. Read more

Four ways to make Information Overload solutions acceptable to employees

Posted on March 3rd, 2010 · Posted in Organizational Solutions

Solving Information Overload is one of the highest-ROI actions an enterprise can embark on. With knowledge workers losing about one day a week to this issue, anything that will reclaim them that time is bound to repay itself very rapidly for the company, while improving the victims’ quality of life. There’s just one potential pitfall: some of the organizational solutions available may seem restrictive or oppressive to at least some employees, and that may limit their success. It is important to make the solutions acceptable to the very people they are trying to help! Here are some ideas for achieving.. Read more