The news of emails death has been greatly exaggerated: Technology pundits have been proclaiming the death of email as a tool to reach your teenage audience for well over a year at this point. I maintain that the pundits aren't happy unless they are proclaiming the death of something. The fact is, for the type of communication a college would be doing with any prospective students, email is still extremely relevant. Remember, you're not their friend. You're more of a business contact. For their friends, in-person communication, text messaging or social networks reign supreme as their communications mediums of choice but their "business" contacts are relegated to a second-class email status. A lot of your prospective students will have created separate email accounts (that their parents have access to) for their college search process so to a real extent, they are expecting you to communicate with them through the medium. Plus its so cheap to do it will almost instantly garner a huge ROI.
So day one of An Event Apart was really good. Jared Spool just stole the show with his presentation on navigation. I felt a bit bad for Scott Fegette because by the time he got up and did his Dreamweaver thing, most people just wanted the day to be over so they could go get free beer. All the morning presentations were quality, with the lowpoint for me being in the afternoon with Doug Bowman and Chris Fahey. It wasn't that these guys didn't have good information, but they just seemed to be all over the place and I thought they could have wrapped the web into their talks a bit better.
I plan to be blogging all day from An Event Apart in Boston. Check back to this post for a master list of all the day one presentation posts (each session will also have its own post as well...this is moreso just a table of contents). Here is the line up for today:
At the beginning of September, I asked on Twitter how people manage to get things done at their college, considering all the road block in their way. And I wasn’t at all surprised by the answers I got: Forgiveness comes easier than permission has practically become a mantra of this community in the past few years. And there is certainly a place for this type of thing, particularly with smaller projects. But when you’re going after larger things, eventually, you’re going to have to start working with people! And if you use this tactic too many times, you’re going to start burning bridges. Already with this mentality, it’s like you’re preparing to do battle.
Regardless of whether or not you actually have people reporting to you, you must consider yourself a manager. You’re in charge of managing your projects and workload, and you’re in charge of managing your working relationships with both your colleagues and your boss. You have to approach these things proactively – you are in charge of managing your own reality. In early September, I asked what people’s biggest challenges were in getting things done at their college. Consider what the following three answers have in common:
I said this week that people who proclaim the death of something oftentimes have no clue what they're talking about and should be ignored on principle. There were a bunch of twits yesterday on this subject and I also found out a panel idea was submitted to SXSW on it too. A great debate is in order. I'll start it off.
The ability for workers to collaborate across the country or the globe invites additional diversity and problem solving and a growth and innovation by tapping into a talent base that would otherwise be unavailable. Virtual teams allow companies of all sizes and provide all manner of business solutions, products, or services to find the best people with the right skills and a perfect fit regardless of location.
A key element that is rarely listed as required of a successful remote workforce is a strategic program put in place before the creation of an open remote job. The remote work program must be strategic in its thinking, undo. The expectations must be explicit, the reporting structure must be formal and easily understood.
Industry experts are agreeing that now is not only cost-effective to employ a remote workforce but it also creates a competitive advantage for any company that does not. A remote workforce increases efficiency and deepens the talent pool to the point of where improvements become much easier to attain. A recent report from Gartner encouraged the financial world to embrace the significant cost reductions by using remote workers.
The upside for remote workforce is obvious almost immediately. With fuel prices out-of-control not having to drive an hour to and from work every day will immediately put more money in the pocket of an employee. This was done without having to give them a raise, and without having to increase their hours. Your employee just became happier, more efficient, and wealthier all at once. This power savings isn't relegated to the employee alone.
Large businesses often have virtual teams at many locations all over the world with varying levels of mobile technology in use. This could lead to greater complexity and remote workforce or perhaps the need for additional training on that technology. Information and understanding is going to be the key to connecting a remote workforce in a meaningful way and making sure that both of these are readily accessible to everyone in an organization will allow for ease of collaboration and content sharing.