Telecommuting – the future ain’t what it used to be

Productivity versus collaboration. Isolation versus distraction. The pros and cons of working from home and “telecommuting” were making the rounds last week with articles about Google and Yahoo policies. Google, despite enabling its users to collaborate remotely doesn’t favour the practise itself. The positions of these companies on the matter are summarised by Asher Moses and Ben Grubb with some additional research facts, stats and links. Here’s a sample:

A New Hiring Manifesto: Your Fancy Credentials Are Worthless | Fast Company

Speaking as a graduate of one, top schools teach you credentialing and ladder climbing. If you’re lucky, you might learn how to create a financial model or craft a solid argument. They don’t make you a great UX designer or programmer. Your passion for learning and gaining more and more experience are what make you great. The nights you stayed up until 5am coding make you great. Your love of building things makes you great.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee: Then, now, tomorrow. What’s next for the World Wide Web? Sydney Town Hall 5 Feb 2013.

About the event

Part of the City Talks series presented by the City of Sydney and UTS spotlight.

The hash tag was the ever parochial #tbldownunder. The official ones were #sydcitytalk and #UTSengage

What people said

There were several introductions including Clover Moore’s rundown of the City’s contribution to supporting innovation which was quite impressive, and there were (too many) panelists, but everyone was there for Tim Berners-Lee.

He delivered his presentation with a frenetic energy. Was there a thread? A theme? Not quite, although his historical tech overview did turn into an invitation to contribute to code and be vigilant of those who seek to control our data and our privacy. I think an implied warning of proprietors who want to lock down devices too.

Design research #2: 10 questions to debrief after an inquiry

I recently read IDEO’s HCD toolkit and it reminded me of the instruction offered in Ethnography for Marketers: A Guide to Consumer Immersion, which I have written about before. If you do any type of UX research, particularly observational research, but have not had formal research training I think you will find them both worthwhile reads. This is my summary of advice from both these texts on debriefing after a contextual inquiry.

Bank of America to its 270,000 employees: Be nice

Bank of America sent a letter to each of its 270,000 employees with the simple message to “Be Nice”. This is after woeful customer satisfaction ratings. Is a letter enough? No, according to Customer Experience consultant Colin Shaw of Beyond Philosophy who stresses the need in the story for matching incentives and guidelines for how much time managers spend with customers and in branches. Apparently a more comprehensive plan to address customer satisfaction performance is to follow.