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posted by janrinok on Saturday August 06, @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?


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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by darkfeline on Saturday August 06, @10:03PM (2 children)

    by darkfeline (1030) on Saturday August 06, @10:03PM (#1265349) Homepage

    For tech proficient companies, it makes sense to have officially supported/approved tech while allowing employees to use what they want, provided that they take responsibility for their own tech support and security.

    Ideally, that stance should be taken by all companies, but the average person at the average company simply isn't equipped to comprehend that policy (Karen *will* bring in her crap to IT).

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 07, @04:21AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 07, @04:21AM (#1265380)

    It is a shame the way things are. Up to the mid-90s, secretaries did their jobs with whatever tools they were given. They typed up documents, sometimes complicated ones with tables and other line-by-line formatting on typewriters, they used a variety of unique office machinery that had their own idiosyncrasies, they moved to using crude word processors, even writing in TeX if they were in university departments, and they did it all because that was their job and those were the tools. Then after Win95, there came this whole marketing nonsense that anything else was "too hard," then once Windows was entrenched, lord help you if you wanted to switch to something else because the retraining costs would kill your company! The people who could take dictation and do shorthand were suddenly told they were too stupid to understand all this computer stuff. These people who could mimeograph and un-jam a complicated IBM copy machine, or troff a text-based formatting document, are now too stupid to do something without a mouse and some buttons to push. It is pretty sad, in my opinion.

  • (Score: 2) by kazzie on Sunday August 07, @07:38AM

    by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Sunday August 07, @07:38AM (#1265397)

    That's the approach I've taken at my current employer (of two years, now). When we shifted to work-at-home (and later hybrid/mixed work), the company offered to provide us with laptops and/or any other equipment we required. I didn't take them up on it for two reasons:

    Firstly, I've been using Thinkpads for two decades, and am very attached to trackpoint interfaces. I've never gotten comfortable with touchpads.

    Secondly: I had no idea what their IT policies would be on control of software. I could bet that I'd be given a Windows machine, and I've not owned one of those for donkey's years. And would I be allowed/able to find and install the software I'm used to using under Linux?

    In the end I opted to use my slightly-long-in-the-tooth X250. A lot of the software I needed to use was browser-based, and for authoring documents and presentations I could stick with what I knew. I'll administer my own machine, and let IT administer the desktop machine at the office.