Category Archives: Technology News and Trends

Beware the “Freedom” of Full-Time Telecommuting

Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer’s decision to end flexible working-from-home arrangements has made the pros and cons of telecommuting the hot topic this month. As a company made up of telecommuters and office workers, here is our take on the situation:

Telecommuting is not for everyone. Some people, such as our CEO Gerry Brimacombe, prefer to work remotely. He’d rather “get to work than go to work” because he defines work as stuff to do, not a place to be. Other people may enjoy working from home, but can’t buckle down and get work done with dirty dishes or the temptation of television in their face. Those with a solid work ethic may not enjoy telecommuting, as they could lack the technical literacy to problem-solve computer issues on their own and/or prefer to gather the input from their peers to make decisions.

Telecommuting is not a productivity booster for all types of tasks. Not all tasks can be completed away from the office. Denying the value of face-to-face conversation is foolish– like dumping a lover by text, some conversations obviously shouldn’t occur online. Idea telecommuting tasks require focus, minimal interruptions or complete silence. Collaborative tasks, such as meetings, can be surprisingly effective when presented or attended using web-conferencing tools. There will always be some tasks that benefit from casual water cooler chatter with colleagues, such as brainstorming blog post topics or out-of-the box solutions.

Beware the “freedom” of full-time telecommuting. Working from home all the time can be just as restrictive as having to come into the office every day. Our Operations Manager, Chris Stone, who must commute over mountain roads for an-hour-and-a-half every day, welcomes the odd day when he can get up and get to work off-site because the type of work at the top of his to-do list doesn’t require a trip to the office. Yet even he is glad that he doesn’t have to work from home all the time. Heading to the office is a welcome time to engage with colleagues and disengage from the everyday stresses of home.

The key to telecommuting success is flexibility. Ultimately, it is the flexibility of telecommuting that allows the worker to adapt their present workload to the realities of life – be it sick children, contagious coughs, insomnia, rush hour traffic, long commutes, accidents on the highway, bad weather, shoveling the snowy driveway, frantic “forgot-to-set-my-alarm-clock” mornings, inconvenient repair people appointments, flat tires, and more. Knowing the option to work from home is available reduces stress and shows staff that they are valued as people.

In summary, beware of full time telecommuting, but consider part-time telecommuting solutions. 

Created with content from Chris Stone, Operations Manager, Sector Learning Solutions.

-Kelly Marshall,
Director of Communications,
Sector Learning Solutions

Hilarious SharePoint Migration Videos by Sharegate

The geeks over at Sharegate has created some hilarious videos  to illustrate how a SharePoint migration should be as easy as all the simple tasks we perform every day at the office.

Their videos parody everyday activities – such as transferring information or moving files – and turn them into over-complicated ordeals.

The analogies they present are entertaining and humorous. I’d encourage you to take a look and vote on your favourite video. You can even share your favorite vids via Facebook and Twitter.

Our favourite around the Sector Learning Solutions office is:


Sharegate is a SharePoint Migration company dedicated to creating the simplest No-Brainer Migration tools for SharePoint.

-Kelly Marshall,
Director of Communications,
Sector Learning Solutions

Using Microsoft SharePoint for Project Management

In our July 24, 2012 blog post “Using Hashtags in Microsoft Outlook as a Project Management Strategy,” I discussed strategies we employ at Sector Learning Solutions to manage smaller, internal projects using tools such as Microsoft Outlook.

In that post, I mentioned that we manage our larger client-based projects using Microsoft SharePoint 2010. Our management team prefers to use SharePoint for administrating projects because when it comes to collaboration, SharePoint is the Leatherman of multi-tools. Sure, Outlook is comparable to a Swiss Army Knife- reputable, reliable and familiar- but when it comes to selecting a place to store and locate “one version of the truth,” it tends to fall short.

“Email is a victim of its own success,” says Sector Learning Solutions’ CEO Gerry Brimacombe. “I get so much email, spam and legit[imate], that it is really not a good place for me to store or even receive information. By creating and using SharePoint sites to store project documents and project team members’ contact information, it helps me to breathe easy to know where to find the information I need, and know that it is the latest version.”

“And let’s face it; we use a lot of subcontractors who (like me) often work from home offices. Having a “home page” for every project, which all team members can access, just makes life easier and more efficient for our clients”.

When discussing Project Management tools, Microsoft Project certainly deserves a mention. It is a super powerful tool – yet using it often feels like using an angle grinder to file your nails. Sure, it works and boy does it get the job done, but its overkill – and over-complicating a situation can be dangerous. “Sometimes the overhead of using a powerful tool just doesn’t always pay off,” says Gerry. “I know several senior project managers that choose to not use MS Project, or they use it to plan a project but not manage it.”

MS Project is certainly the right fit for your needs when planning projects that require tracking dependencies, managing costs, and calculating Earned Value, yet when it comes time to manage the project by sharing information and communicating tasks, deadlines, issues and risks its functionality is moot.

According to the Gartner Group, the number one reason that projects fail is due to communication issues. Since MS Project doesn’t directly help project communication, a strategically planned project requires additional tools to allocate tasks to project team members to ensure deadlines and budgets are met.

-Kelly Marshall,
Director of Communication,
MS Project 2007/2010 training &
MS SharePoint 2007/2010 training @

Sector Learning Solutions

Microsoft OneNote for Smart Phones

In Darci LaRocque’s June 2012 Swirl Solutions Newsletter, she pointed out that if you use Microsoft One Note – there is now an app for your mobile device, including Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, Android or Symbian phones.

What are some of the benefits of having OneNote set up on your mobile devise?

OneNote makes it easy to capture notes and ideas on the go – including managing to-do, grocery and errands lists. As you complete items, you can check them off your list to help you stay organized. OneNote allows you to store your files on the Microsoft SkyDrive, ensuring that you can access your up-to-date information from your phone, PC or web browser.

-Kelly Marshall,
Director of Communications,
OneNote 2007 or 2010 training @
Sector Learning Solutions

“Wouldn’t You Want Dave Talking About Your Blank?”

Think Social Media is a waste of time, especially for businesses?

Chris Burdge of bWest Interactive shares an entertaining YouTube video (“Blank”) in his March 1, 2012 blog post “Meet Dave…

The video illustrates advertising company 22squared.com’s trademarked phrase “When advocates talk, brands grow,” and shows how Social Media can empower consumers to become advocates – who take action.

How many lives do you think one person can touch in a week through Google+, Twitter, Facebook and WordPress?

If your clients are using Social Media to talk about your business- don’t you want to be part of the conversation?

Content provided by Guest Blogger:
Chris Burdge of bWest,
Social Media Instructor,
Sector Learning Solutions

-Kelly Marshall,
Director of Communications,
Social Media Courses @
Sector Learning Solutions

Windows 8 Preview

Microsoft thinks Windows 8 will rejuvenate the Microsoft brand – do you?

Check out the video link below to see a preview version of Windows 8 operating system: designed for tablet and PC.

Microsoft’s next version of the Windows OS is its biggest advancement since introducing Windows 95 16 years ago.  Mar 15, 2012 | 02:54

Source:
Microsoft’s master plan to beat Apple and Google
By David Goldman @CNNMoneyTech April 17, 2012: 5:20 AM ET

-Kelly Marshall,
Sales and Marketing Coordinator,
Sector Learning Solutions

When IT is Not the Solution

*
Sector Learning’s Collaboration Systems Business Analyst, Chris Stone, shared a rather amusing (and thought provoking) blog post with the Sector Team : How to Replace 30 Laptops (and $10,000) with 150 Sheets of Paper – orginally posted on  ruk.ca, website of Peter Rukavina (rhymes with “blue cantina”).

Rukavina shares the story of how he tried to solve a problem (routing PEI electors to the correct voting tables) with what turned out to be complicated, costly technology solution – which was replaced by an easy, cheap and effective solution guaranteed not to crash – paper and a pen.

-written by Kelly Marshall,
based on submission by Chris Stone,

Collaboration Systems Business Analyst,
Sector Learning Solutions

Image: Jomphong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net