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Auckland, New Zealand
Smurf sized geeky person with a penchant for IT, gaming, music and books. Half of industrial duo 'the craze jones'. Loves data, learning new things, teaching new things and being enthusiastic.

Friday, 7 August 2009

The Whatsit?

I've just been to the launch meeting for The Whatsit? which is a free online cybersafety resource for SMEs.

The Whatsit? has been created by NetSafe after research into cybersafety and security processes/practices of SMEs in NZ were shown to be somewhat inadequate.

This new tool helps SMEs to create a cybersafety policy quickly and easily using multichoice options in a web-based application. It looks pretty useful and will make implementing a policy much quicker for business owners with little time.

Check out www.thewhatsit.org.nz for more information.

The speakers got me thinking though. It seems that NZ businesses are not catching on to the idea of cloud computing, the speakers were talking about such horrors as staff using gmail, hotmail or instant messaging whilst at work. With more companies moving their email services (amongst other things) out to the cloud, the distinction between work/personal email could become somewhat blurred. And instant messaging is a great tool if only people could look past the social side of it and instead imagine business uses for it. If all a business does is check the site addresses that staff visit, then how will they know if webmail or instant messaging is for work or personal use? They don't.

I think NZ businesses need to start thinking outside of the "we must stop our staff doing anything other than work" mindset. We can have our hotmail open and still be working; We can have Skype open and still be working - I've successfully used Skype for pair programming. These tools and websites that management seem so afraid of are already being successfully used by people to help them in their work. Some businesses have a knee-jerk reaction to the Internet and assume that if staff have access all they will do all day is send emails and surf the web.

There's nothing wrong with surfing the web or checking your email as long as you still get your work done, perhaps people need to start looking at productivity levels instead of hours worked. For example, Joe Bloggs is at work for 8 hours, he works flat out at his best speed for 7.5 hours and he gets 10 things completed. Annie Bloggs is also at work, but only for 7 hours, she works flat out at her best speed for 6 hours, spends an hour or so checking stuff out online, but gets 15 things completed, however, according to most business managers, she's the bad guy here. If a person has completed all their work, why expect them to sit there doing nothing. All that happens in that situation is that staff will work more slowly, I'm pretty sure research has been done in this area, whereby staff will achieve the same amount of productivity per day regardless of how many hours they are at work. You must have experienced this yourself when you've had a half day holiday booked and yet you still manage to achieve all your work in the 5 hours you're there in the morning. Why not let staff go home if they've finished all their daily tasks, or let them surf the web in 10-15 minute intervals throughout the day? Who does it harm? No-one!

Anyway, that's my twopennethworth.

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