For most Boomers (born 1950s and 60s), the office had the best technology – much better than they had at home. I started work at KPMG Johannesburg in the early 1990s, when they had just imported over 100 Apple System 7 “luggable” computers. This gave KPMG more computing power than the USA government had at the time (they needed special US Senate approval for the purchase)! I was a techie nerd as a kid (from my awesome first Atari 800SX, with green screen, to my AT computer in the early 1990s).
But I had nothing at home to match what I had available to me at work. And that’s not to mention the fax machine, the photocopier, the mainframe, the telex (OK, I’m not that old, but it’s the concept that’s important here), and other amazing technology available at the office. And the most up-to-date software too. I used to try and book an Apple out every weekend, and take it home with me to play on.
But now times have changed. Most of today’s young people come to work everyday, completely frustrated and irritated by the out-of-date technology available to them. Their office has worse technology than they have at home. And, even worse, restrictive IT policies mean that they can’t bring technology from home to the office, as they’d like to. IT requires them to use Excel and Word, when they’d prefer to use Google Docs. IT restricts their ability to load apps onto their machines – little programs that would help increase their productivity and efficiency. And, if they’re Apple fans, tough like if the company has chosen a PC platform. Standardisation trumps productivity and enjoyment!
This doesn’t make sense. If you can’t keep ahead (or even keep up) with current IT specs, then the least you should be doing is allowing staff to use their own technology. I know IT will faint and give 100 reasons not to do this (their starting point will be “security concerns”, I’ll bet). But IT should not have the final word here. There are other considerations, including the motivation and engagement of your staff, especially your top talent, productivity and efficiency, and the reduction of costs (why not let staff use their own technology and give them a small personal budget to get what they want for themselves).