ln my last blog,"UC and the work life balance", I discussed the way that communications and UC in particular has changed the way we now work. In this follow-up blog I want to share some of the rules I use that allow me to interact but also still be productive.
As I said, UC is coming more prevalent and starting to include social media information about individuals making our work and life a single entity. Personally I think that UC is great and I like the option to read my email on my smart phone as I rush between meetings, catch-up on tweets and add Facebook updates on whatever device is at hand.
The rules of productivity
However, some rules need to be put in place if we are to be efficient in our work life and allow us to spend as much time with our family and friends:
- Email – Only copy in people that need to know about the subject rather than the self preservation 'copy the world and its wife' that we all seem to do from time to time.
- Email filtering - Review the list of people in copy before you reply and remove anyone you believe doesn't need to be informed. I guarantee that if you have been too ruthless the recipient will forward it anyone important you have drop from the reply.
- Email ping pong - We have all been in this situation where you ask a question and get a reply with another question and so it goes on.
My rule of 3 :
- If I send more than 3 emails on a subject I use IM to contact the person.
- If the IM goes on for more than 3 minutes I pick the phone up and call them.
I find this method gets the issue addressed quickly, especially in a multilingual company. This is followed up with a summary email covering the facts, agreements and the next actions, see email rule for recipients.
- Presence - If you want to be left alone don’t be afraid of setting you presence to do not disturb with a message such as 'working on billable engagement until 16:30' or 'creating end of month reports for the remainder of the day'. Your boss won’t think you’ve gone shopping, honest.
- IM – If you are off-line and a question can't wait the person will call or send a text message. If it can wait them they will send an email or wait till you are back on-line.
- Mobile phone – As with presence, if you have to get some important work done turn it off.
- Social media – As our lives are getting more public and it can be hard to have a private face anymore. The only advice I have here is create two of everything if appropriate, one public and other private. Its a bit more administration but on the other hand the pictures of your mates stag night won't end up as your XOBNI profile picture or Linked-In account where your dressed as Elvis in a bath of custard eating a Victoria sponge, please don't ask!
The big question?
So will UC address the work life balance? I still believe it helps get some 'me time' back even if it’s not always outside of the extended working hours we seem to all work. To help me I stick to the rules above so I get my work completed in an efficient, professional and timely manor.
What's your experience of UC, both inside and outside of work?
What rules do you use to ensure UC works for you and you don't become a slave to it?