I am fortunate to have a lot of autonomy in both when and how I do my job. There are places I have to be at certain times, but I can be flexible most times. As for how, I have a
bag of tricks toolbox with a variety of skills, theories, strategies and resource that I can access as needed. What I use and when is largely up to me.
Sadly, one area I have no autonomy, no control is technology. My current technology set up is a desktop system running XP and a blackberry bold. Both are locked systems and I have no ability to add programs without permission. Even updating to IE 8 and blackberry software requires a call to IT.
A big reason that IT and management gives for not bringing in new technologies is the support and training. There is a challenge in training staff and then supporting their mistakes. Now the next statement is why I get labeled an
asshole radical. It is our responsibility to train and stay current with all aspects of our jobs, including technology. I appreciated that you still like your paper calendar but sorry sister time to man up and move into the 2oth century. (digital calendars are last century)
The way that most organizations manage technology is to create closed systems, but closed systems prevent innovation. The field of social work was founded on innovation and needs innovation to grow. For example, using Yammer to put together a group of people connected to housing resources then tapping into that group to find housing for people in crisis or connect clients to roommates. Or using a tool like Doxie to scan and secure documents. Hard to loose a confidential document if it is scanned and uploaded to your network. With cellular data built into laptops information doesn’t have to live on the device so even a loss of laptop isn’t a breach.
Personally, my dream mobile system is a smartphone (iphone or blackberry) with the ability to tether, a macbook air 11 inch. (yes, shoot me I like Mac. The OS is easier to use, intuitive and requires less IT support) I would settle for a basic netbook if cost is an issue. I’d throw in Doxie and a portable black and white printer. (If anyone knows a good one please let me know) That is pretty much all I’d need. I can meet with clients create goals and plans and print them out. Scan legal information, receive clinical letters for other and print them out. Internet access allows me to access any form I need, fill it out, print it.
There really is no excuse for not making the best of the technology that is out there.
If you are using technology, sanctioned or unsanctioned, how are you using it? How are you changing your work to fit technology or the other way around?