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Home Computers in E-Discovery

Simply put, the headline of this post from Gabe’s Guide to the E-Discovery Universe describes exactly what you should expect if you are party to a lawsuit at work, and use your home PC to access work information.

News Flash: Yes, your home computer may not be safe from your job’s legal issues

This is yet another area where the line between work-life and home-life is a blurry mess. This crosses over in to all sorts of different areas, business risks, work-life balance, employee expectations, etc. Technology has really changed the way we work, and eliminated the idea for many of us, that we go home at 5 and that’s it.

Interestingly enough, on the flight to Kansas City for my wife’s cousin’s wedding this past weekend, I was reading an article in the online magazine for Northwest Airlines about Best Buy’s corporate headquarters ROWE approach. ROWE stands for Results Only Work Environment and is based on the book Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It. The basic idea is that there are no schedules. If you want to go to a movie or grocery shopping in the middle of the day, or don’t want to start your work day until 2PM, then so be it. So long as the work you’re assigned gets done, you get your results, no one cares how you get it done.

Now, obviously, this wouldn’t work everywhere. If you have customers that expect you to be available during certain hours, you kind of have to be, but how many of us work in places that expect us to be in our seats “working” for certain hours during each day regardless of how much work there actually is to do at that point, and then expect overtime during the “rush” times?

In other words, how much less would your Litigation Support staff suffer burn out if they had the freedom to schedule their lives around the workload, as opposed to having to be in the office, sitting at a desk, twiddling their thumbs until 5 every day, only to then have to put in 12-16 hour days when there is a ridiculous workload and deadlines? How much better could their quality of life be if they could leave the office for a few hours in the middle of a slower day and get some errands done?

To look at it a different way, why does your IT staff invest in technology that allows people to access network resources from anywhere, and then you expect them to make sure they spend their 40 hours in the office? Because you want them to be able to work after hours, right? What do you offer in return? That may be why your workplace sucks.

Tags: ROWE, RemoteAccess, eDiscovery

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