Within the last month or two, I made a post about trying to create the best conditions for remote teams. With many ways to communicate with each other, it appears easily every day to work from anywhere. But with as many tools as there are to do this, few are as seamless as we think they’ll be and even the simplest pieces can fail.
For the most part, connections and communications have gone well when I’m in my office, although I have to add that I have an ongoing feeling of unease about e-mail. It’s something that seems simple and that many of us have come to rely upon, but that sometimes doesn’t get to its destination due to filters that the sender or receiver don’t necessarily know about nor have control over. Thus, important information sometimes does not get to its destination and neither the sender nor receiver knows anything has gone wrong.
Aside from that, though, things have been going extremely well. That is, until I leave my office. Then, as I try each different Internet connection, some are easier to use than others. Most appear to work seamlessly. For this week’s trip, though, nothing was working, there was no easy way to get support on the connection, and it was only due to finally thinking to unplug the router that I finally got things working, but that took me longer to think of than it possibly should have, considering I did actually expect to just waltz in and use the connection, no questions asked, no hassles, no problems whatsoever. As such, I just kept hitting the buttons for awhile thinking it would all just work if I gave it an extra moment to connect.
Despite getting my Internet connection working, finally, my phone forwarding remains a mystery. It forwards some calls and not others. Thus, my promise to my customers that my trip would be seamless to them — that they would call the same number and that nothing would look different – it’s true except for the phone number. Mysteriously, the simplest thing, the call-forwarding feature, appears to forward some indefinable subset of calls, rather than all calls, and the options on it are quite clear – it’s either on or off.
While the ultimate goal is being met, that I can get all my work done, can communicate with the customer, and they do actually have a way to call me if they want to, I feel letdown that my expectations that it be “seamless” was not met.
So, every year we talk about all the great new tools we have, the terrific new gadgets that do all these things, and the fantastic progress technology continues to make – too bad it doesn’t work to the point where things really are as seamless as they’re advertised to be.