Do you remember those Choose Your Own Adventure style books from when you were younger? If you haven’t caught that wave of nostalgia yet, let us explain. These were short chapter books in which the reader could determine the outcome of the story based on his or her decision about what the characters in the book should do next.
For example, if astronauts in a space shuttle encountered an alien craft, the reader could decide to turn to page 50 to turn the ship around and go home or turn to page 75 to try and contact the ship.
It’s a fun way to learn to read and a great way to craft a story in your imagination. But why does the fun have to stop just because most of us read books on tablets these days? IT support for small and medium-sized businesses IS exciting for the Continuous team, and so is creating fan fiction. So today we thought we’d combine our love for business technology and create-your-own-adventure books within this blog post.
We’ll skip the table of contents in our version, and get right into the story.
It’s the start of the second quarter of 2018 and the entire company is gathered in the conference room to discuss strategy for the remainder of the year. The CEO gets up and reports that revenue is up slightly from the same time during the previous year.
At first glance, this might seem like good news. It is, from a profitability standpoint, the bosses are happy but something seems off among the staff.
Energy levels seem low, and there are more instances of silly arguments and conflicts between members of certain departments. The general morale of the company is in a slump, despite revenue climbing – so what has changed?
As the newly appointed manager of the IT department, you’re the unlikely hero in this story.
Most of your day is spent ensuring that the internal technology systems are functioning properly, and when you’re doing your job correctly, the phone doesn’t ring. But you’ve got moxy, you’ve got a vision, and you might just have the shot in the arm this company needs to improve.
After the meeting, you approach the CEO’s office and knock on the door. You take a seat at her desk and relay your observations about the issues you’ve been noticing over the first few months of the year. It comes as a surprise to you when she nods and responds that she’s been noticing the same issues.
She explains in a puzzled tone that nothing has changed since last year, profitability is up and the company has more customers than ever before. She throws her hands up considering what could possibly be the source of the diminishing morale around the company.
Now seems like the ideal time to share a couple of ideas that have been swirling around in your mind.
You understand that C-level types don’t always consider technology solutions as a starting point to improve the company culture, so you need to approach your pitch carefully...
To pitch the implementation of a telecommuting program for employees, turn to Section A.
To pitch the improving data backup and disaster recovery solutions, turn to Section B.
Section A - Telecommuting Pitch
Having the benefit of a career in IT under your belt has provided you with a unique set of skills and opportunities to leverage these skills from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. Most employees and managers still cling to an antiquated philosophy of the traditional work environment. That is, being in at the desk by 9 am and completing all your tasks under the same roof as your coworkers.
There is better technology in most modern cell phones than was available in the first space shuttle, so why are we still attached to this idea that one needs to be “in the office” to get the job done? The days of being chained to your cubicle are over and the more companies embrace this concept, the happier their employees tend to be.
A telecommuting program offers employees freedom and flexibility. Picking up kids from soccer practice, being able to take that friend to the airport in the middle of the morning, dental appointments, and being available for the cable guy are just a few of the items that every human has to deal with at some point.
And guess what? None of these usually happen outside of normal business hours!
A flexible work program offers employees the ability to schedule their lives more conveniently and remain able to complete essential work functions.
According to research done by Fundera, there are some 3.7 million employees in the U.S. who are taking advantage of work-from-home programs offered by their employers. Part of the problem with low employee morale may be attributed to the fact that a company without a telecommuting program might be seen as behind-the-curve in the eyes of their staff.
The same article in Born 2 Invest details offers more about how telecommuting can help employees save money:
Telecommuting is also cost-efficient. By working from home, people can save up money because they no longer have to shell out cash for gas or fares. Additionally, eating out isn’t the only option as they can also cook their meals at home instead.
While this might sound good during a conversation, there is more to implementing a program than just snapping your fingers and hoping employees stay on task while they’re at home.
Managing the relationship and expectations becomes just as critical in a telecommuting environment as it is in the office.
Collaboration between IT staff and management will be important in determining protocols about how off-site employees will need to conduct themselves. This might include monitoring activity while using company property, or ensuring that compromised BYOD (bring your own devices) technology doesn’t infect sensitive company data.
The smile on the CEO’s face when you finish this pitch lets you know that you knocked this one out of the park. Nice work!
Section B – Data Backup and Recovery Pitch
The only thing worse than completing a tricky project once is having to do the work for the second time. Just because most deliverables in an office environment are transmitted electronically doesn’t mean that they are immune to being lost, stolen or destroyed.
Clients don’t care that your hard drive crashed, all they are going to remember is that they don't have the reports they need.
Data backup and recovery isn’t something managers consider until it’s too late. And when it’s too late, it’s a major crisis. If the staff is using antiquated technology with hard drives that keep glitching and losing data, the result is that employees are going to have to do the same work twice.
There’s no way this is good for morale. Better data backup and more streamlined data recovery processes can help ensure that work only needs to be done once and can minimize the instances of intermittent screaming at a computer throughout the workday.
Besides lowering employee rage, the downtime associated with technology glitches directly contribute to lower productivity. Our website describes the problem like this:
Downtime can be defined as any technology failure that negatively affects the performance of your employees. When these individuals spend time waiting for a web page or application to load, miss emails or, worse still, lose all access to the systems they depend upon to do their jobs, the cost to the business can be extensive.
Nice work! This bit of technological low-hanging fruit is a great way to contribute to a more productive, happier workforce.