Getronics Blog

Being ‘at work’ doesn’t mean what it used to… here’s why that’s a good thing!

07 April by Tim Patrick-Smith, CIO of Getronics

Not so long ago most of us divided our lives into two distinct halves: the one we got paid for and the one we didn’t.  But in the last twenty years or so this has changed. Technology has shifted expectations, as have social and economic attitudes, meaning that for many of us the line between our work and social lives is somewhat blurred. Nowadays the traditional definition of ‘work’ is much less clear-cut.

You’d be forgiven for thinking at times that we are stuck in some post-industrial revolutionary bubble doing our best to stick to Taylor’s tenets of ‘Scientific Management’ from 1911.  Of course the language might have changed a little – the word ‘factory’ being replaced by ‘office’- but the basic principles are the same: bring the workforce to a central location so they can be monitored and measured by the amount of output they create.  In a ‘knowledge’ economy this approach isn’t just wrong, it’s corrosive.

The office still remains the hub for many organisations. However for those who want to recruit and retain the best talent, having a flexible attitude to where people work from is not just an option, it’s essential.

Potential employees are already making decisions about whether they’d like to work for a particular organisation based on its approach to technology.  If they see their future colleagues using equipment well past its sell by date, witness an unenlightened approach to remote working or a BYOD policy best suited to 20th rather than 21st century, they will more than likely look elsewhere.

And let’s not forget that today people often have better technology and connectivity at home than they do in the office.  Of course nothing beats being in the same place when you need to work with others, but this is not always possible and people should have the flexibility to choose. No doubt there will always be professions that have to be location-specific, but even then there is a great amount of flexibility that can be introduced.

Technologies such as Microsoft Lync are changing the boundaries of what ‘being at work’ means today.  As a global organisation, Lync has transformed the way Getronics’ 6,000 employees interact, meet, share and stay updated.

Presence everywhere means that you can find people wherever they are, no matter what application or device they are using.  What’s more, individuals have the important ability to control when and to whom they are ‘available’ – otherwise the impact on productivity could be disastrous!  The benefits of this to a global company like Getronics in terms of cost savings, productivity gains and increased employee and customer satisfaction have been significant.

The new version of Lync will be called Skype for Business – think of this as Lync 2015. As this rebrand suggests, it will be fully integrated into the Skype network meaning Lync and Skype are now one interconnected community of users. With the vast reach of the Skype network (40% of international voice traffic passes over it) there is huge potential for reaching and interacting with customers and partners.

All in all, technologies like Skype for Business are not really about technology at all, but rather a catalyst for a new way of working. For more information on Getronics’ Lync capabilities, please visit here.



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