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Upgrade your tech policies, they’re annoying me

Sometimes I think the things I talk about here could be irrelevant or outdated, because surely the corporate world is always at the forefront of new toys, tech and Trello-style apps that improve productivity for both increased profit and employee wellbeing.

Then I try to email someone a 6MB attachment and it bounces back because it exceeds his company’s limit.

I’ve checked my calendar and it isn’t 1998. I’ve checked where he works and it’s for an international corporation based in Sydney, not a shed in Oodnadatta that’s on a solar-powered dial-up connection. I’ve called Mitch Fifield and he assures me it’s not an NBN issue. So what’s the go here?

Surely it can’t be that a company boasting it’s on the bleeding edge of technological research when it comes to unearthing previously hidden deposits of primary resources could have an IT department so backwards it cannot fathom a situation in which one of its employees would legitimately receive a file greater than 5MB?

This isn’t the first time I’ve come across this situation. Back when I was a magazine editor, photographers sending in sample shots would often have emails bounce back for the same reason. While the powers above me deliberated lifting the limit – not even removing the limit, as though this wouldn’t become a problem again in the future – I set up a rogue Gmail account to liaise with snappers.

It was so much more convenient than working around internal firewalls and filters that I migrated to pretty much using it exclusively with external freelancers, receiving digital clips from overseas agencies and anything else that let me get around internal restrictions.

In fact, it turned out to be one of my greatest innovations, because when I got marched from the building for industrial espionage, I was able to poach all the freelance talent, use the exclusive stories from foreign press publications and set up my own.

Nahhh, that didn’t happen. But it’s an example of the risk you take when the technological tools you give your staff aren’t up to the day-to-day tasks they need to perform. If I was having to find workarounds for these problems in 2010, there’s absolutely no reason we should still be coming up against them eight years later.

Remove the archaic technological barriers that give your people headaches, or they’ll go elsewhere for solutions. Whether it’s against official company policy or not.

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