Friday, 10 February 2012

GUEST POST: Jodi Ulrich, Workplace 2.0 Pilot Member

Hi there! My name is Jodi, I'm the Senior Manager of Communications for ATB Investor Services, and I’m pleased to be guest blogging for Sherri this week while she is on vacation.

As a pilot member of the Workplace 2.0 project, I thought I’d really test the boundaries by working from Los Cabos, Mexico for two weeks. My husband and I have rented a condo here with a strong internet connection and I brought a briefcase full of devices (think laptop, iPad, Blackberry, chargers coming out the ying yang, and of course the amazing Aruba!) making my Cabo office feel just like my Calgary office…minus the snow. I know Sherri has touched on it before, and I can confirm that a flexible work environment is completely reliant on technology! When devices aren’t working, production stops very quickly. This is my fourth day in and I’ve had several interesting hiccups already and they are all related to technology.

Example #1: Two days before I left Canada, the screen went dead on my Blackberry rendering the phone useless. Due to the lack of time, I took a cell phone belonging to my colleague Alex, and was hoping I could get Telus to switch it over to my phone number and email address once I got down here. When I called on Monday, I learned that Alex’s Blackberry is not an international phone and would not work in Mexico. Shoot! So for the few phone conferences I have booked while I’m here I have been using my husband’s cell phone. Not the end of the world, but a little tricky when we both had calls scheduled and I had to rebook mine.

Example #2: Another techno-glitch occurred just this morning. The power went out in our complex which meant the wireless router and Aruba were not working, and I had zero connection to emails or Office Communicator. I also knew that my laptop battery would only last for a few hours before it would die. Once again, my husband’s trusty cell phone came in handy when I sent a quick note from his email account to my team back in Calgary letting them know they could reach me on his email address if they needed anything while I was offline. Thankfully the power came on after about an hour and now I’m back in business!

With all of that being said, either of these situations could have just as easily happened at home. Regardless of where I am working in the world, I know my ability to produce results is almost entirely done through technology. The wonderful thing is, so is the rest of the world! To mitigate my phone problem I can walk down to the grocery store here in Cabo and by a pre-paid cell phone that is actually cheaper on a $ per minute basis than my Alberta phone. As well, there is a Starbucks four blocks away that has free wi-fi and plug-ins (not to mention a stunning view of the ocean) that I could use if necessary. The wireless world has made it simple to overcome any of these predicaments, which is just another reason why I am such a huge supporter of the Workplace 2.0 pilot. It has truly changed my life….especially this winter!

P.S. Coincidentally, Sherri and her family are on vacation in Cabo just a few minutes from where my husband and I are staying. Here’s a pic from our awesome dinner date last night! And of course, being the working girls that we are, we spent some time talking shop while we were together. When the guys were chatting about sports, I was able to bring Sherri up to speed on what she has missed at work for the last 10 days and we also discussed a plan for a few upcoming meetings; all this while sitting beside the ocean. It was quite amazing!