Friday, 2 June 2006

Newsletter Issue 115, June 2006


Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 115, June 2006
Hi guys,
Check out part one of The Teleworking Debate below.
Are You Irreplaceable in your work? If so, how can you ever be promoted? Let's look at the options...
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

The Teleworking Debate, Part 1

Stephen Bell, who writes for Computer World, published an interesting article entitled "Oil, coal, paper — the dead tree economy lumbers on" a couple of weeks ago.
While Stephen's article was focused on what he perceived as government focus in the budget on politicians still being keen to single out Kiwis, despite desirable outcomes of international online exchange, I was very interested by the point that Stephen raised about using broadband to reduce loading on our roads.
The 2006 NZ Government budget was focused on road-building and national identity but also, and I feel more importantly, on forcing Telecom to reduce its uncompetitive practices.
It occurs to me that if in New Zealand we get better and cheaper broadband and cellphone access, we can reduce commuting need, because instead, people can telework; ie, work from home. Communications Minister David Cunliffe was challenged at last year’s regional networking conference to come up with reasons for developing domestic broadband. He cited teleworking.
In Stephen Bell's article, while this would cut back on the cost of building roads, he didn't think that teleworking would catch on here in New Zealand; mainly due to management resistance, socialising requirements and office power structure obstacles.
I would disagree, because teleworking is not a case of 'all or nothing'. I think teleworking offers salaried staff immense flexibility, and once the advantages are clearly defined, all parties will be more inclined to pick up on it, thus reducing our need to sit in our cars for up to 45 minutes per day, per way.
Teleworking in the UK has more than doubled in eight years. In October 2005 the Office for National Statistics reported the number of teleworkers stood at 2.4 million or 8% of all workers. In 1997, when data were first collected, there were 921,000 (4%). UK teleworkers largely comprised of managers & senior officials (23%), associate professional & technical staff (also 23%) and professionals (18%).
UK teleworkers numbered highest in the East, London, South East and South West, at 10% of all workers. Aha! Just where traffic causes the most problems.
And do people really not want to telework as Stephen suggests? Our closest neighbour, Australia, reports from their Bureau of Statistics that the most common reasons given by ALL employed persons for not teleworking more often was that (a) 63% said that type of work was not suitable, (b) 14% said their employers would not allow it, and (c) 12% lacked the equipment.
Sure, retailers and manufacturing staff can't telework, but the other 37% of us can. Executives for example. The US executive job search service, TheLadders.com, ran a survey of 1,078 executives in the US$100k+ job market, with only 10.4% saying they'd prefer to work in the office. Tasks suitable for telework practices include:
  • Thinking and writing; such as data analysis, writing regulations, reviewing grants, reviewing cases, making decisions or writing reports
  • Telephone-intensive tasks; such as setting up conferences, obtaining information or contacting customers
  • Computer work; such as programming, remote trouble-shooting, some help-desk tasks (providing you have software such as PC Anywhere) data entry and word processing.
I feel that large scale adoption of teleworking would indeed reduce traffic congestion, providing it is combined with a focus on busing children to school (otherwise teleworkers will be pressured to do the school run).
The recent increases in the price of fuel also help to make teleworking more commercially viable. However, to further accelerate adoption, government agencies could also provide incentives such as grants, subsidies or tax benefits, to organisations who adopt teleworking.
Service providers and equipment vendors have a great opportunity to form strategic alliances and offer a complete remote-working solution which includes all hardware and services necessary for mobile or telework.
In the next newsletter we will look at some specifics around teleworking. And if you would like to read Stephen Bell's full article, it has been published on ComputerWorld's site at  http://computerworld.co.nz/news.nsf/NL/79C5B10BA0E862F7CC25717A000E7FE6
 
 
Are You Irreplacable?

The other day I read a little nugget of wisdom penned by Dilbert creator, Scott Adams; "Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted."
That's a striking thought. If you make yourself too integral to any one position, it leaves your manager with no other choice than to keep you in that one role.
From your manager's point of view, you being irreplaceably brilliant could make them worried that you are either after their job, or they fear about what might happen to your department if you leave, therefore they will hinder your leap up the career ladder.
So the next thing, you realise that you've been doing the same thing for seven years and you're bored rigid. Every time you bring up the idea of advancement, you get a slap on the back, get told what an amazing job you're doing and are given a bit more cash to shut you up.
If that sounds familiar, then succession planning is the solution for you. You can afford to be brilliant at your job, if you train and coach your staff to be able to step into your shoes. Not only does it encourage you to put more effort into your staff's development and advancement, but both you and the organisation will gain something from it.
The organisation benefits through better staff retention. All personnel can see that there is a chance for them to better themselves, an active investment in their development and an environment that fosters growth; so they stay much longer. You gain personally because you become a better, more involved manager. The encouragement that you give to your staff is repaid in your personal development and increased challenge.
In order to make progress in your work, you need to demonstrate an ability to take well-calculated risks, to be adaptable and to seek challenge. While you should always do the very best job that you can, you also need to clearly show that you aren't defined by that one role.
While good succession planning will not guarantee a promotion, having a reduced the risk by having trained replacement ready will certainly make it easier for your manager to see the benefits of moving you up.
 

Customising Outlook's Junk Mail Filter

When the Outlook 2003 junk mail filter is set on High, newsletters and similar emails are usually evicted straight into your junk mailbox.
To re-route any newsletter or email that you want to keep, you need to tell your spam filter to ignore messages from specific people or organisations. In Outlook 2003, this is done automatically to some extent, but to customise it, do the following:
  • Under options, go to Actions | Junk E-mail | Junk E-mail options | Safe Senders
  • Tick "Also trust email from my contacts", and
  • You can also tick the box "Automatically add people I email to the Safe-Senders List" remembering that if you email anyone back to say "take me off your email list" you will then go back in to this box & manually remove them from this list
However, this doesn't work too well for newsletters in Outlook 2003, because the sender for each message is often slightly different, so you should enter the domain name into the Safe Senders list, as follows:
  • Go to Actions | Junk E-mail | Junk E-mail options | Safe Senders
  • Click Add
  • Enter the first domain that your newsletters are sent from in the "Add address or domain" field (eg "woodyswatch.com") one at a time and click OK to add each one to the list
  • Repeat as necessary until all are added
  • Click OK
You can also right-click on the header of any email and select "Add sender to Safe Sender's List" from a pop-up menu (which is quite useful).
Hope that makes receiving your email a little easier!

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you:
  • MUP, Multiple Uniform Naming Convention Provider. The file 'Mup.sys' windows file is primarily used for when two or more different types of network clients are used and helps them communicate between each other

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
In this newsletter, we are concluding our look at all you can do with Alt, Shift, Ctrl using plus (+):
  • PowerPoint & Word "Expand text below a heading" Alt & Shift & + (Plus)
  • Word "Outline Expand for the Outline number selected" Alt & Shift & + (Plus) NUM
  • IE "Zoom in. " Alt& + (Plus)
  • Access & Excel "Add a new cell/row/column/record" Ctrl & + (Plus)
  • Frontpage, PowerPoint & Word "Apply superscript formatting " Ctrl & + (Plus)
  • Explorer "Expand everything in Tree view under the current selection back to a previously opened state, or use to open only one level if it has not previously been opened" NUM & + (Plus)
  • Outlook "Expand selected group " NUM & + (Plus)

Hot Linx
You can get a copy of God's Debris by Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, as a free, private use only ebook at http://www.andrewsmcmeel.com/godsdebris/. Very generous of the author, I might add.
It can be hard to get attributed quotes, so this site at http://paul.merton.ox.ac.uk/misc/quotes.html is quite good.
If you are interested in software piracy reduction, then check out the 2005 stats from Business Software Alliance at http://www.bsa.org/globalstudy/pressreleases/2006-Global-Piracy-Study.cfm
According to Hitwise, the YouTube site is the most visited video website on the planet, gaining 43% of the market at http://www.YouTube.com/

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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