Inbox/Outbox 2007

August 28, 2007

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CHAINED TO THE INBOX – IS EMAIL RUNNING YOUR LIFE?

Over 50% of UK business users are self-inflicted ‘emailaholics’ according to new research by Mesmo Consultancy, announced at Inbox/Outbox 2007

London, UK – Over 50% of UK business users are unable to walk away from their emails, even when on leave or off sick, according to the results of Mesmo Consultancy’s latest research on email behaviour as revealed at Inbox/Outbox 2007.

More than half of the 415 respondents check emails when out of the office and 12% check over 5 times a day. When questioned on the main reason for keeping in touch with the office, 67% admitted that it is purely self-inflicted whilst only 20% log in because their office expects them to do so.  Couple these figures with the fact that 1 in 4 Britons works longer than 48 hours each week, as reported last month by the International Labour Organisation, and the picture painted of work / life balance is pretty bleak.

In a technology-enabled “always-on” society, where people are connected to their workplace 24/7, email addiction is rapidly becoming a widespread affliction, highlighted by the mushrooming number of internet sites and blogs suggesting rehab tips and techniques. As the Mesmo survey reported, only 17% of respondents give colleagues permission to deal with their emails in their absence and over 80% read every single email in their inbox.

“The role that email plays in office politics (CC and BCC being the most lethal weapons), the fear of missing something and being blamed for it, together with the amount of personal emails received at work addresses are surely accountable for the lack of delegation and obsessive inbox scanning behaviour, contributing directly to the addiction,” commented Dr. Monica Seeley, founder of Mesmo Consultancy. “Moreover, as the survey showed, the majority of users are expecting to receive a reply to a business email in less than 24 hours. And if a reply is sent immediately, that sets the expectation for the next round of communications, fostering a very reactive and rather unproductive way of working.” 

Issues around work efficiency and productivity were even highlighted by the way in which the survey’s responses were collected. The research, conducted by email amongst 4000 UK business users with 66% of respondents at managerial/director level, attracted approximately half of the responses within the first hour of sending out the survey. This indicates that the majority of business users are willing to be distracted from the task in hand by emails landing in their inbox, breaking concentration with obvious loss of productivity as a consequence.

Mesmo Consultancy is planning to run another survey in association with the organisers of Inbox/Outbox within the next few months, to delve deeper into business users’ email behaviour and addiction. The results will be announced at the next Inbox/Outbox event (www.inbox-outbox.com), due to take place on the 27th and 28th of November at the New Connaught Rooms in Central London.

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Nokia and Microsoft announce mobile tie-up

August 28, 2007

Microsoft’s most popular internet applications, including Hotmail and Messenger, will be available on Nokia phones

Nokia, the handset manufacturer, has announced that it will start pre-installing a raft of Microsoft internet applications on its phones from early next year as a way of increasing revenue from web services.

From January, owners of Series 40 handsets will find Windows Live Hotmail, Messenger, Live Contacts and Live Spaces installed on their phones, while the applications will be available for five phone models this week.

[full article available at:  The Times Online :-


Social Networking – defamation by former employees

August 22, 2007

[article just received via email from HR Review]

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“directory service 118 118 has asked social networking site Facebook to delete one of its pages, on which former employees criticise the company.

The ‘Survivors of 118 118’ page – set up by two former staff members – features an invective against both 118 118 and its customers, that has captured media attention in recent days.

118 118 spokesperson, William Ostrom, said: “They absolutely do not represent the views and the attitudes of the vast majority of our staff.

“We are now in discussion with Facebook for them to withdraw the comments on the grounds that they are defamatory to our customers.”

This is the latest in a series of events that has seen employers come into contact with social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

Many employers are now rumoured to be checking on both current and potential employees via the information they post about themselves on the internet.

According to a survey of managers at 600 companies by networking website Viadeo, one in five conducted internet searches on the names of potential employees and around a quarter of these searches then lead to rejection letters because of what they found out about the candidate online.

Viadeo manager, Peter Cunningham, said: “Millions of people are inadvertently contributing to their Internet reputation every day by leaving personal information online, much of which is cached and remains available via search engines even after the author has removed the webpage.

“The rise of search engines such as Google means potential employers are never more than a few clicks away from information about you.”

He added: “People must manage their Internet reputations.

“Online information must be tailored to work to their advantage.”

[article ends]


Idea Mapping – Memorability Factor – Jamie Nast

August 21, 2007

Jamie Nast - Memorability Factor

For anyone interested in Idea Mapping, I would highly recommend that you watch a webinar by Jamie Nast, available from the MindJet website.

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http://www.mindjet.com/us/company/events/webinars_recorded.php?s=3

There are two memory tests for you to take, the group results of which really brought home to me WHY it is important to use imagery and colour in any mind maps that I will create.  I have a very good memory (my first result – prior to Jamie describing the Peg Method – was 16/20) but, after Jamie had explained the Peg Method my result was 20/20. 

I avoided using Mind Mapping for a few years because it didn’t feel like it suited me (see earlier post on Mind Mapping) … I am a very linear, list-orientated person.  However, what I discovered a couple of years ago is that I do use both sides of my brain and, whilst, my natural instinct is to use LISTS, I actually remember those lists by “seeing” the items in my mind’s eye.  I visualise almost everything as I read it, hear it, see it… I create images around the text and I now realise how important that visualisation has been in my ability to remember vasts amount of technical information.   I also love art and colour and am always drawn to rows of coloured pens and pencils in any stationery shop … all my filing systems are colour-coded … even my Excel spreadsheets have colour on the TABS of certain sheets!

In Jamie’s webinar she suggests that we should “take risks to be more creative” and I certainly have decided that all future Workshops I deliver (no matter how professional and dignified the audience) will have a mind map (created in MindManager 7 Pro) using imagery and colour.

Kaye


BT Business Club

August 19, 2007

I received the following details from an eNewsletter from EveryWoman….

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As part of its campaign to educate small businesses about the benefits of the latest technology, BT Business has launched a free guide to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
The easy-to-understand guide comes in response to BT Business research that found only a quarter of small businesses in the UK are currently using broadband telephony services. It forms part of the ongoing BT Business “Understanding…” series that are aimed at helping smaller companies get the most out of technology.

Understanding VoIP for Business, available free from the BT Business Club (www.bt.com/understandingvoip), explains how businesses can take advantage of the latest VoIP services, along with the benefits. These include a cost-effective additional line, capped-price calls to mobile and international destinations, as well as free advanced calling features such as voicemail, call waiting, call forwarding and call barring.


Business IT Guide launched by eSkills

August 19, 2007

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e-skills UK launches tool to help small businesses make the most of IT

A service to help smaller firms increase their productivity and competitiveness through technology has been launched today (19 July 2007) by e-skills UK. It will be available first in South Yorkshire through Yorkshire Forward and Business Link.

The ICT Yorkshire Business IT Guide is designed to help businesses understand what technology is relevant to their particular organisation, and support them in taking the necessary action to achieve business benefits. It covers topics ranging from developing a website, implementing security and investing in hardware and software, to using technology to enhance sales and customer relationships and manage communications.

Karen Price, CEO, e-skills UK said:
“Technology can transform a small business. It has the power to improve efficiency, open up new markets and enhance customer service. But for many smaller firms it can be difficult to know where to start. Our research has found that many small businesses don’t know where to go for trusted and impartial information about introducing and managing new technology. They can get lost in all the jargon; and they worry about resource and skills implications and what the business will do if the technology doesn’t work properly. In addition, they are unsure about how to plan for growth and changing needs.

The Business IT Guide was developed by e-skills UK with employers for employers. It addresses these concerns and provides small companies with a user-friendly, accessible tool that enables them to make the most of technology for business success. We are delighted to be launching the Guide in partnership with Yorkshire Forward and Business Link.”

Who is the Guide for?

Version 1 of the Guide is aimed at micro businesses (1-9 staff). The two main reasons for this are that businesses of this size are the most likely to need IT support due to a lack of internal expertise and also; there are 1.6 million of these businesses – making up 85% of the economy – so there is a lot of help required! The strategy has been to focus on delivering the areas of technology that are most commonly applicable across the largest majority of this group.

Hence there has been a focus on ICT infrastructure and basic business applications that can be used across all sectors. By concentrating on common areas of IT and in using the Internet to deliver the advice and support; we are able to help potentially tens of thousands of small businesses. The Guide will be of most use to those that are broadly speaking ‘willing and able’; that is, businesses that are interested in exploiting IT but need support in doing so. It is not yet designed to help those with no individual IT literacy and nor is it designed to convince those totally against IT that there is benefit in using it.

The Business IT Guide will be freely available to small businesses in Nations and Regions where it has been adopted and funded by the relevant business support infrastructure.

1. Businesses
Help us
continue to get it right by providing input. We are always keen to hear from small businesses, particularly if you:

  • Are interested in testing and reviewing demonstration versions of the Guide
  • Have ideas as to what additional content and advice should be included in the Guide
  • Would like to share with us experiences of technology usage within your business (good and bad!)

To get in touch, in the first instance please email theguideteam@e-skills.com
2. Stakeholders
Stakeholders interested in more general information relating to the programme can download documents from this site and can contact theguideteam@e-skills.com with specific questions.

3. Business Support organisations
Business support organisations interested in supporting the use of the Guide with small businesses should also contact theguideteam@e-skills.com


Planning a Website

August 19, 2007

Planning and Creating a Website

Target Audience

  • Know who your audience is and have a route into your website via the Home page for each target audience.
  • Focus the page(s) so that it provides the solutions needed by that particular target audience.

Plan the Visitor Journey

It is essential for you to KNOW each particular target audience so that you can be incredibly specific and focused. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes (for each different customer) and “walk” the journey that you would want them to take. You have, apparently, 7 seconds to capture their attention.

This process should stop you from writing waffle and should concentrate your mind on writing good content. Don’t write things aimed to suit everyone … write specific content for a specific target audience…and write as though you are talking directly to them; write as you would naturally speak.

You need to focus so that your customers walk the journey you want them to take and then they should take the action you want them to take … you must have a CALL TO ACTION, such as to register for a free newsletter OR submit an enquiry. Always ensure that you have a THANK YOU page to let them know that you have received their request (it makes them feel as though you are interested in them – which naturally you are) and it is MEASURABLE.

Having established your Visitor Journey (for each target audience) which should end with a CALL to ACTION, check whether they can get from beginning to end within 3 or so clicks?

Always use CONTACT FORMS to encourage contact from your Visitors rather than displaying your email address as this will avoid “spammers” being able to capture your email details.

Updating your content

Don’t leave the content static because Search Engines won’t rate the site highly. Equally your visitors like re-visiting a site which is “lively”.

The HOME page should be an active part of your marketing; an organic, ever-changing, interesting, “worth a visit” kind of place. Make a point of putting effort into your website – treat it like a new (but highly promising member of staff) – you will be rewarded by your input.

Blogs

Another easy way to keep content updated is to have a blog, linked to your website … again the key is “good content” and keeping it updated … daily is perfect … weekly is OK … less often and it might not be worth the effort.