I’m sure that my colleagues in Michigan have offered a few silent prayers of thanks for technology during this past week of dangerously cold and snowy weather. Every day we’d receive an e-mail from one ’Foiler or another whose car doors were frozen solid, who struggled for two hours but failed to make any headway toward the office, or who had just contracted the winter crud and didn’t want to pass it along to coworkers. Not a one of them took a day off or missed a beat in their work, however, because all of us at Airfoil are remote-equipped tech warriors.
Of course, we have smart phones that allow us to send and receive e-mail from home or wherever we travel, remind us of meetings, and even allow us to open and review documents. But we also have connections through the Internet to all our Microsoft office tools and files and can work from home just as easily as at our office desks.
Our technology even lets us collaborate remotely almost as if we were in a conference room together. Through Microsoft Lync, each of us can use a desktop application to send instant messages to another ’Foiler, a group of colleagues or even clients at their offices. Our communicator app shows the status of everyone’s presence (busy, in a meeting, available, etc.) and automatically inspects our Outlook calendars to adjust the presence settings during the day.
If we need to talk, rather than chat, with a coworker, we can click one button on the communicator panel and make a voice call, using the built-in microphone and speakers in each computer. Alternatively, we can initiate a video call—employing our laptop’s built-in camera—so that we can hear and see each other directly, with the option of sharing files or our computer screen.
The same capabilities are available when we are on the road. When we want to stay connected, it’s a simple and automatic process.
I enjoy the camaraderie of the office setting when I meet with my fellow ’Foiler in person, but I’m certainly glad that not sleet nor snow nor frozen locks keep me from my appointed rounds with colleagues, from Michigan to Silicon Valley.