It’s happened to all of us: that moment when we realize we can no longer keep our work and personal lives entirely separate. It happened to me when my boss friended me on Facebook. And it was reinforced when I found myself answering non-urgent work emails on vacation.
Our work and personal lives have been blending together for years now. And while it creates added pressure to reply to emails after work hours or attend conference calls while on vacation, it also affords more flexibility – you can attend your kid’s soccer game or run errands without feeling like you’re missing anything at the office.
Technological advancements are certainly a driving force behind making the fusion of work and play easier. Smartphones, e-readers, MP3 players, tablets and laptops – yours or your company’s – serve dual purposes for both personal and work matters.
So what happens as the line between designated “work” and “personal” gadgets start to blur? While it seems obvious that whoever paid the bill should be responsible for maintenance, upgrades and troubleshooting, consider how often personal devices are used for work purposes and vice versa.
This has major implications for IT in the workplace – policy, support services and networking infrastructure are all affected. (And you thought social networking made things complicated.)
Computerworld recently explored this recent trend from a helpdesk service standpoint in, "Help desks prep for consumer device blitz
." Whether your IT department takes a tough or more lax approach to how employees can use tech gadgets in the workplace, we came up with a few helpful tips to keep things in control:
Keep up on trends and train IT staff on gadgets that will likely gain popularity in the workplace. Develop procedure and policy before it is needed. Prepare for the influx of Wi-Fi devices on your network, and make sure your security functions are up to the challenge.
Help users help themselves.
Develop a knowledge base for employees. Offer training classes, recorded webinars or electronic guides housed on the company intranet. User expectations, security precautions and basic maintenance should be included. Incorporate an overview of IT policy and procedure into new hire training.
Draw a line in the sand.
Your department can only handle so much. Stick to your policy. Reference it often. IT can staff can easily be overwhelmed with requests if employees continually stretch the line between work and personal tech issues.