> Choose Your Own Office

Choose Your Own Office

Posted on Thursday, May 19, 2011 | No Comments

I’m on holiday today – which means I’m not in the office – and I’m sprawled out on my sofa (two phones within reach), and I’m amazed at just how much more productive I feel.


My Windows 7 Sony Vaio laptop is on my lap (as per design I guess), and I'’ve got TweetDeck open, a dozen Internet Explorer tabs and of course Windows Live Writer to scribble down this very post.  But checking back through my task list from this morning I’ve read through TechCrunch, took the time to catch up with Sarah Lacy’s blog posts, learnt that Fernando Alonso has signed with Ferrari until 2016 (!), checked my email and replied to a couple too.


Music is playing and the distractions of the office are no where to be heard.  I don’t feel stressed and I’m happy.  The reason why I’m happy is that I like it when technology gels together in this way and things just work. 


Don’t get me wrong, if it was taken away from me, I’m certain that I’d miss the office environment (everyone needs a base), but it does have me thinking about the modern office environment – especially when it comes to the computer environment.


On my desk at work I’ve long had a Windows XP machine and only just managed to get the green light to upgrade to Windows 7.  The problem is my PC is designed for Windows XP and I’ve found that drivers for the aged hardware are no where to be found, meaning graphics are running at basic levels and sound is missing completely.


My question is this; why aren’t companies doing more to allow empower users to embrace technology?  I know the answer is because IT departments won’t have control and software licensing would be a nightmare and the question of ownership becomes the hot topic whenever a new policy is pushed or a problem occurs.  But just imagine for a moment the following scenario….


The company sets out a guideline of what isn’t allowed (i.e. Apple laptops aren’t permitted on a Windows network – lets face it, Microsoft still leads the way in Enterprise), and users are then permitted to select and buy their own hardware and software (again within reason; no point in using Google Apps when Microsoft Office and Sharepoint are the norm).  Once they have made their selections, they are submitted to the IT department for approval and along with a signed agreement that they hardware belongs to the user, but the policies and control applied to said hardware are controlled by the company where applicable, but open for negotiation, then everyone ends up happy.


There are undoubtedly a few kinks to work out in my grand plan, but there are also some huge benefits;

  • Users who love technology can keep up-to-date and have a little bit more support for their devices than they normally get
  • New ways of thinking and working are achieved
  • A better understanding of technology and software is achieved as users are effectively ‘buying into’ their own systems and ideas
  • Companies don’t have to spend money on desktop equipment – unless the user opts for a ‘company provided system’

Maybe my idea is a pipe-dream and has absolutely no chance of ever working.  But the strength of the consumer electronics market right now and the battle for domination in the music, video, storage, cloud systems, it seems ever more likely that these ‘home user’ technologies need to be accepted more in the workplace.


The paradigm is shifting; some clever ideas to embrace new ideas are what is called for and a smart strategy could make or break.


Or in other words; get me a new PC at work and open up Twitter already!

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