Does your office have 'Sigh-Fi'? (Guest Commentary)

Signs your company's tech policies are outdated
By Andrew Warren-Payne
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/30/2014

There are many signs an organization is desperately behind the times in terms of its technology — unfortunately, that situation is rife in many corporate environments today.

If your organization has any of the issues discussed below, chances are they are irritating people beyond all comprehension, getting in the way of work — and they have no genuine utility behind them.

Banish these things immediately, or make a quick buck by shorting the share price of the offending institution.

You can’t connect to Wi-Fi unless you bring your device to IT

This baffles me. Unless you are the National Security Agency, there is no reason why a company should make it harder to connect to Wi-Fi than it is on the shop floor of a department store.

People need it so much, they will even choose to shop at locations with Wi-Fi.

If you have a secure network with confidential information, there may be some safeguards that need to be put in place.

But this doesn’t mean employees should waste hours of their valuable time ferrying equipment to IT to have it “approved” — which often consists of just having its serial number recorded on paper and put in a file.

Guests can’t use Wi-Fi or need to fill in a convoluted form to do so

If your guests (for example, prospects or leads) can’t connect to Wi-Fi, the experience is like visiting a restaurant without a washroom — it will cause them unnecessary discomfort and they will think your company is amateurish.

Do everyone a favour and install a guest network with a simple password that everyone can share.

Connecting your own device to the network is forbidden

Similar to the point above, this is also frustrating. There is many a time when an employee will need to go online using a device her workplace might not have given her.

Perhaps she needs to check if a site works on mobile. It could even be she is using her own computer because your organization hasn’t given her the software she requires.

To work remotely, you need special permission (and often a convoluted VPN)

Working remotely for many types of teams (especially developers) is the new norm. In fact, among people in the younger generations, the ability to work remotely is seen as a valuable benefit when looking for employers.

Aside from this, you probably have employees who may have to care for people at home or may have a disability that requires they work from home from time to time.

These people want to work, so make it easy for them.

Any changes to the website (no matter how small) require an unnecessary business case

If your business requires someone to spend a huge amount of time completing paperwork or online forms to make small, quick, positive changes, chances are you are lagging way behind the competition. Kill this backward thinking — it helps no one.

Tech support processes are used to delay work rather than make things easier for everyone

There is a sad reality within many organizations: The technical team is so demoralized and depressed with their work, they really don’t want to help anyone.

As a result, they adopt passive-aggressive strategies to delay their work. If this happens, do the following:

1. Buy some doughnuts or coffee.

2. Find the technical team’s work area.

3. Give them the doughnuts or coffee.

4. Ask them for help while they consume the doughnuts or coffee.

Tech projects frequently reference ‘stakeholders,’ but
most people are never consulted

A similar hallmark of a passive-aggressive technical team is the frequent use of jargon, babble and lengthy documentation in lieu of actually finding out what people need.

Face-to-face communication is quick, easy and accepts the fact we are human, not automata.

Projects are rolled out ‘big bang’ style but with minimal testing and no resources to deal with problems

Companies don’t do enough testing. Make sure yours isn’t one that regularly displays error messages on its website.

If it does, hire an agency. Immediately.

Andrew Warren-Payne is a senior research analyst at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter @agwp or on Google+.

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