February storms in the UK – travel and work disruptions?
So far – we have had the wettest weather in the UK ‘since records began’ I believe the story goes. It has been a pain for anyone wanting to go outside. The rivers have swelled up and flooded many parts of the country and this has had the knock on effect of causing travel mayhem. Many roads have been closed, trains have been cancelled and general traffic and travel chaos has ensued. I’ve spent a fair amount of time stuck in traffic over the past few weeks; traffic jams and general road congestion caused by the failures of public transport and diversions.
Fortunately I have been able to use technology to get around these issues in most cases. The ability to keep in contact with my colleagues and customers using instant messaging, voice and video conferencing and desktop sharing has been a god send recently. I don’t need to be there in person all of the time to get things done. Using these productivity tools has affirmed my belief in them. It is actually quicker, easier and more efficient for me to send an instant message to a colleague, get the response I need and continue with my work – all without leaving my desk. On the few occasions where there have been questions that we haven’t been able to answer on our own – we have either added someone else to our chat session or turned the chat into an impromptu conference call and dialed in someone to assist us.
Being able to do this from my dedicated home office has been simple. I connect to my vpn, log my computer in on the network and away I go. The key test for me was being able to do this when on a customer site from my iPad.
I’m please to report – it was just as simple. Using the same application that I use in my normal office life, I connected, setup a chat and then setup a video conference. Having a single application that can provide this functionality no matter what device I use or where I am makes it so easy to use and as an end user – this is vital for product adoption. Make something tricky or difficult to use and it won’t be. Simplicity is key.