Escaping the factory worker mentality

Blog by: Gareth Baron, Senior Account Manager - 01-Aug-2018

Unquestionably we have seen a huge shift in attitudes towards work over the last twenty years. Arguably, some of the old attitudes still exist (can be both good or bad).

A surprisingly large number of phrases from days gone by are in the UK workplace vernacular. Let’s look at some below, and how we relate to them now – how has technology changed the way we think and work?

‘Bums on seats” 

A saying that brings back memories of a time when a more traditional manager or director would expect to see their ‘human assets’ sat in the office to carry out their duties, and dare I say was an old measure of productivity and method of being able to micro-manage staff. Although some industries (mainly heavy industry, manufacturing, hospitality, production etc) require staff to be on site to perform their duties – businesses with staff who are involved in communications, professional services and other sectors have realised the benefits of breaking away from that line of thinking – and have allowed staff to be more mobile, creative, collaborative and productive. 

“Clock in”

We have become an eco-friendlier society over the last twenty years, ditching paper for digital, and trying to reduce our spend on consumables -with software helping achieve this. Although traditional clock-in machines still exist in some businesses, they are really seen as a relic of the past. Businesses can now use their telephony systems to see when staff began their working day – and presence has really helped improve visibility of staff availability. Skype For Business for example will show you when somebody has logged on, and even if they are ‘active’ or ‘away’. The two main communication platforms that we install (Mitel and Anywhere365) have easy to use login features, and codes/statuses to report on staff activity. Payroll is a department that often needs access to such information to be able to pay staff according to the hours they have worked in some organisations. Imagine running payroll and having to look at 500 employees individual paper clock in cards? The time, money and waste that it cost to do things this way eventually lead to smarter ways of working. At Adept4, we are all about working smarter, not harder – and is something that all of our customers can benefit from. 

“Down tools”

This was the sign of the end of the working day – and the end of productivity. Not just in manufacturing and production – but in offices and businesses all across the spectrum. Before Microsoft’s Office 365 and mobility really kicked off, a lot of work was parked until people were back in the office (back to the grindstone – remember that one?!) the day after. Now we don’t have to down tools. Companies who allow mobile workers and flexibility to work from home will see a change in productivity. Keen individuals with a strong sense of customer care and dedication to the job will now often be available well at 17:00 and can be more productive in the evening, when the phone isn’t as busy perhaps. By utilising platforms such as Microsoft Azure and Office 365, organisations can really get the most from their people. Those who are fortunate enough to be able to work from home will agree – you probably end up getting more work done (no commute, lunch is in the house with you, fewer distractions etc) – and because there isn’t the ‘clock in/clock out’ mentality, you will often work until you are satisfied that the job is done. No need to down tools – take them with you! 

‘Through the mill’ 

An expression that somebody has recently had a hard time – an unpleasant experience. As we know – cotton mills and old factories were a hard and dangerous place to work. Not just because of the machinery – but also due to the demeaning way in which staff were treated by factory bosses. Technology has helped change the workplace to be a more positive place to be. We now have leaders instead of bosses, we have collaboration instead of dictatorship, and we have innovation to be able to fail fast when trying new things, and technology has brought us to this point. I think Azure is a great example of my last point. Imagine you are a successful computer games house with the past 3 games being a roaring success. Your customers say the game is great, but online multiplayer would be better. The board agrees – and spends £20K on a new server, £40K on a dedicated SAN with SSD/Flash arrays, £10k on secure colocation in a datacentre and other various elements. The list of things needed goes on – and it’s approached with the old factory manager mentality –  we hear ‘we need machines we can touch’ or ‘I want to own the kit that I am spending my money on’. So –the expensive infrastructure goes in place after 6 months of planning and circa £100k has been spent - for the game to be a total flop, and the project fails.  It transpired that in the 4-6 months it took to put all of that together, another developer had brought out something more appealing and taken the market share. Through Adept4 and the Microsoft Azure platform, companies can spin up complex environments in hours and minutes – at the flick of a switch, powerful compute, storage and networking can be provided in the cloud, for DevOps to be able to run projects and test them – and if they are not a success, they can simply close down their environment and stop the billing.  We bring scalability, flexibility and agility to the table. 

Lessons Learned

Slowly we are learning lessons from the past (RIP Blockbuster) on how old ways of thinking hold us back from being productive. We still have a long way to go in all industries to put efficient modern ways of working to the test, to get better results. Adept4 exists to give you the correct ‘tools of the trade’ and help your business stay ahead of the competition, who are still spending money on technologies which will become obsolete, who are still seeing dints in production down to their inflexibility to allow staff to work from home. Some of you will smile to yourself reading this, remembering your finest ‘sick voice’ on the phone to your boss, because you needed to be at home for a delivery, or you had the sniffles, or maybe the daily commute to the office took its toll and you needed a ‘me day’. Those of you who enjoy modern working practices and can work from home when needed will also be smiling, as those days of putting on your finest Marge Simpson voice to the boss are a distant memory.

Take Action.

If you recognise some of these points and practices in your organisation and would like to enjoy the benefits of mobile working, cloud computing and unified communication – we are more than happy to call and visit in person (some traditions DO make sense still), or if you want to see mobile working and good use of technology, ask your Account Manager for a virtual meeting by Skype For Business. 


Topics: Technology, IT trends

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