I was on pins and needles as I followed strike talks with the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) and its union closely all last week. Thankfully it looks as though that crisis has been averted. As a former Long Islander I have fond memories of living on “the island” but MY memories and experiences with LIRR are not as rosy. Back then I didn’t have tools that would allow me to work effectively during my commute. And at that that time my employer didn’t have a formal teleworking program. So I adjusted to being stuffed into crowded cars during rush hour, annual fee hikes, far too many weather related delays and perennial infighting between the LIRR and its unions.
Fast forward eight years many of my ‘connected’ colleagues outside New York can’t fully
appreciate what the strike would have meant. The LIRR is the most practical way to get to and from Manhattan aka “the city” for over 300,000 workers. In fact Citibank reported that telecommuting was an integral part of the company's crisis management plans designed for events like the potential strike. A formal teleworking program supports business continuity during natural disasters or in this case a major public crisis. Recently my colleague Tim Stone, Vice President of Field Marketing at Polycom discussed teleworking in the wake of the London Tube strike. He also came up with some great advice and suggestions for setting up a home office.
Distance or in this case transportation doesn’t have to be barrier in the modern work place. Collaboration technology makes it possible for workers to get their jobs done on the go, in a conventional office setting or from home.
Check out these great articles for more on teleworking and collaboration technology.