It may be winter – bitter cold and even blustery – but corporations are looking for the green.
Ecology and global warming are on the minds of everyone this winter. We knew years ago that we needed to save our forest lands and many have worked diligently to meet that need. Baby steps taken in trying to move to a paperless society of years past just aren't enough anymore. Success has been minimal. Look around, most of our offices are buried in paper as never before. But we are working on that.
Workers are gradually opting to use public transportation. The more dedicated are biking. Even in Chicago and in the dead of winter you'll see bikers peddling to and from work. Many more are opting to walk wherever possible. These adventurous individuals report that they're saving "tons" of money and time, eliminating weight gain and experiencing an unprecedented feeling of well-being. They're doing a great deal to curb pollution. But, even with that trend taking hold, traffic is at an all-time high. Old habits do die hard…it's just too easy to jump in your car and drive 3 blocks to the local grocery store.
In the corporate world, technology has stayed ahead of the curve. We've got many of the tools we need to win the battle, already. Understanding how to use technology to win our battle to save the ecology has lagged. But we're catching up.
Part of the challenge is that workers have a lot of catching up to do. Learning technology takes time and learning to put it to appropriate use is not always easy. Nevertheless, countless workers are able and ready to meet the challenge. Independent contractors and small businesses are well-prepared to meet and exceed the demand. Using their own equipment and skills in their homebased businesses, most can do an incredible amount of work. Telephones, faxes, email, websites, online chat options, ftp, Conference calls and webinars have proven incredibly efficient in connecting larger groups. These and other tools have proven to be incredible workhorses keeping workers connected without clogging our highways and byways.
When used properly technology allows both individuals and corporations to make significant headway in the battle for an enhanced lifestyle in synch with healing our ailing global problems.
It's true, some have damaged the perception of this business model. Some workers who were really not dedicated to their work or who were sloppy about their work ethics left a bitter taste in the mouths of corporations. And, this was magnified by the archaic belief that everyone has to be micro-managed in order to ensure that they're working up to capacity. Micro-managed people are good at putting in time and doing exactly what is expected – and no more. But, truth be known, there are a lot of dedicated workers who take pride in their careers and strive to over-achieve when given half a chance. Mature workers are productive because they take pride in what they do. When allowed the luxury of working as an independent contractor or a small business service provider, they bring incredible quality and insights to the party.
"Independent contractor" is a badly mis-used classification. Too many see independent contractor status as an interim proving ground that allows corporations to decide if they want to hire an individual as a full-time employee. Even more hire "independent contractors" to shift responsibility for costs of employment such as taxes, insurance and equipment/supplies to the worker while maintaining control over how, where and when the worker performs his/her duties.. That is not the intent of the IRS or legitimate independent contractors.
Setting that aside, when we consider independent contractors as viable small businesses providing a service, we begin to see something much different – a solution to skyrocketing gas prices, reduction of traffic bottlenecks, elimination of time waste – and a major step forward in our battle to cut emissions and save our environment.
Alvin Toffler and other visionaries have given us some insight about what is possible. Green is "in". The need is pressing. All the buzz is finding solutions. It might be a good idea to re-visit our perceptions about how to use technology in the workplace to maximize productivity while putting the green back into our environment.