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posted by janrinok on Saturday August 06 2022, @02:51PM   Printer-friendly
from the I'd-like-an-ice-cream-machine-please dept.

An Anonymous Coward writes the following story:

I’ve long believed companies should offer workers a choice in the technology they use in the office and when working remote. Doing so lets employees use what they feel is the best choice of devices for their work, it can help attract and retain staff, it lessens the likelihood workers will go rogue and source their own technology (aka shadow IT), and it establishes a positive relationship between IT and the rest of an organization.

Companies like IBM and SAP have documented their experiences in moving to an employee-choice model and have declared it a success. But does that mean it would work for every company? And how do you decide which way to go?

The most important question in developing (or expanding) an employee-choice model is determining how much choice to allow. Offer too little and you risk undermining the effort's benefits. Offer too much and you risk a level of tech anarchy that can be as problematic as unfettered shadow IT. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Every organization has unique culture, requirements/expectations, and management capabilities. An approach that works in a marketing firm would differ from a healthcare provider, and a government agency would need a different approach than a startup.

Options also vary depending on the devices employees use — desktop computing and mobile often require differing approaches, particularly for companies that employ a BYOD program for smartphones.

Most employee-choice programs focus on desktops and laptops. The default choice is typically basic: do you want a Windows PC or a Mac? Most often, the choice only extends to the platform, not specific models (or in the case of PCs, a specific manufacturer). Keeping the focus on just two platforms eases administrative overhead and technical support requirements. It also allows companies to leverage volume purchases from one partner in order to receive bulk discounts.

Have you been allowed to choose your own technology and equipment at work? What were the choices offered to you and what restrictions were placed upon them?


Original Submission

 
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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by looorg on Saturday August 06 2022, @05:26PM (5 children)

    by looorg (578) on Saturday August 06 2022, @05:26PM (#1265307)

    Choices might be a bit of a stretch. Sure I have choices but they are from a somewhat limited selection. With that in mind I tend to work as much as I can from home so I can just then use whatever I want. I don't bother unpacking the work stuff if I'm at home. In some cases I don't even use the organizations hardware for long stretches of time, they asked a few times cause I have licenses for various statistical software packages that was extras that I then don't really utilize very often.

    For a computer you can choose if you want a laptop or a desktop, even tho they are slowly phasing out desktop. They want everyone to be mobile or people just prefer laptops these days, I have not really looked into it. Since I travel a bit between offices I picked a laptop even tho I don't really like them (I hate them) but it's convenience. It's not a particularly new machine you get to chose from either. The Wintel machines are some standard builds from Dell and then there are Macs. If you need to deviate from the standard builds that have to be requested and ordered specifically. For most people I don't think that is an issue they just take whatever they get. I had to request an external keyboard and mouse and an ungodly amount of RAM (by their standards) and some special software packages to be installed, cause you are not allowed to install anything yourself. So I have some stuff that can be run straight from a USB-stick, apparently that doesn't count as installing software ... Oddly enough they have no limits on the amount of apps you can install on your phone. I also had to request a rucksack to carry it all in, that was apparently extra to.

    If they ever upgrade the offer to the latest Mac laptops I'm getting one of them next time just for the sake of it. Not that I think I'll like it all that much or it will be great. I just want to try and without having to buy one.

    For phones you can chose between a not the latest generation Iphone and a Samsung Galaxy something.

    From the looks of it I think the Mac and Iphone are starting to win out with most of the staff. It's what most people tend to pick it seems so I wonder for how long they'll keep the wintel option around.

    So do I have choices? Sure. Are they good choices? Not really. Are they choices I would have made for myself if I was buying something? No. Do I understand why they do it? Sure. By having standards they cut down on costs, administration and maintenance.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 06 2022, @06:26PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 06 2022, @06:26PM (#1265323)

    With that in mind I tend to work as much as I can from home so I can just then use whatever I want. I don't bother unpacking the work stuff if I'm at home. In some cases I don't even use the organizations hardware for long stretches of time, they asked a few times cause I have licenses for various statistical software packages that was extras that I then don't really utilize very often.

    I work 100% remote, and my company-supplied laptop is locked down tight. I can't install any "non approved" software on it, and I can't access any company resources from any other computer because they don't have the VPN set up as on my work laptop.

    I *can* get source code over to my personal machine, by disconnecting from the work VPN and using "scp" to copy the files back and forth. Note that this is a firing offense. But someiimes I would rather spend an hour fixing a bug using reasonable tools than a week using what they provide me. And, I'm close enough to retiring to not care if they fire me for doing my job better.

    • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Saturday August 06 2022, @06:51PM

      by RS3 (6367) on Saturday August 06 2022, @06:51PM (#1265330)

      Oh gosh, I both relate to this and am frustrated reading it. I don't even know what stupidity category to file it under. I attribute it mostly to power and control issues. Mid-level manager wannabes. When owner / CEO types get wind of these things, they might promote you (they should!)

      --
      Experience enables you to recognize a mistake every time you repeat it.
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by GloomMower on Saturday August 06 2022, @07:34PM

      by GloomMower (17961) on Saturday August 06 2022, @07:34PM (#1265338)

      If they have git and thus openssh installed, you can fairly easily setup a proxy server so you can use the VPN from other machines.

      https://coldstonelabs.org/SSH%20Proxy.pdf [coldstonelabs.org]

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 07 2022, @03:44AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 07 2022, @03:44AM (#1265375)

      Being there, bro. Perhaps the same place.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by krishnoid on Saturday August 06 2022, @07:52PM

    by krishnoid (1156) on Saturday August 06 2022, @07:52PM (#1265340)

    I've had this discussion with non-developers/tinkerers/hackers, and they tend to complain about the choices offered. If you consider something like, say, JIRA which has a solid REST API, you can provide the default web interface, but you could also allow read-only API access, no questions asked, and read-write capability upon request. So if you want options, you have them ... as long as you put in the work to:

    • customize things the way you want, or
    • convince someone to customize things the way you want in exchange for baked goods or sexual favors [youtu.be], or
    • front the resources to cover budget/manpower/scheduling to support those customizations into the future

    If you say you want something, but that IT should front the budget/manpower/scheduling for it, that's taking away resources from them being able to deliver/support the non-customized versions of things that most people are using. If IT is overbudgeted (ok, I spit out my tea on that one) then sure, they can add responsibilities or tweaks, but otherwise, it seems kind of ridiculous to push the envelope while destabilizing the center.