Women need to stand up for themselves in IT
I am appalled by letters from Angela Bartram ("Vive la difference!") and Karen Menpes ("Why I decided to leave the industry after 15 years") in last week's issue (Computer Weekly, 15 December).
I am a very competent analyst/database developer within the logistics industry. I thoroughly enjoy what I do. Bartram should be at the kitchen sink if she thinks that "women are not interested enough in IT to pursue it as a career". It is women like her who make it difficult for women like me!
I can understand Menpes's frustration at not getting her career moving, but like all careers, it is down to the individual to push themselves forward. If you can't handle the pressure, do something else.
I am tired of hearing people whinge about how their careers haven't taken off (male and female). Yes the IT sector within the UK is not what it once was, or should be. Employers need to train/retrain new and current employees, instead of expecting people to walk in the door like an encyclopaedia of all things IT.
Let's push the case for remote working
I entirely agree that IT provides a very strong route to facilitating changes in how we live and work to address the challenges posed by climate change (Computer Weekly, 28 November).
In particular, I have contributed to David Miliband's blog with the suggestion that tax incentives should be offered to employers who can show that they are encouraging teleworking where it is feasible. With modern home and office technology there is ample opportunity for remote working.
Incentives should be offered to individuals who agree to work remotely, which may encourage more people who feel teleworking would not suit them to give it a try.
I have read that a lot of firms do not regard remote working as company policy, and the most difficult obstacle may be bringing about culture change. I hope this is one initiative that the industry and government can really drive forward.
I am pleased to add that this week my own employer, a software house, has sent round a company-wide e-mail and poster campaign to encourage everyone to switch off lighting and equipment when not in use, and to close windows to preserve heat at the end of the day. It is also looking into recycling through a local collection company.
This is a step forward, but currently there is a reluctance to consider remote working.
Proof that a PC at home is as good as one in the office
Thought I would pass comment on your article concerning flexible working (Computerweekly.com, 28 November).
I work for a major financial organisation and requested a flexible working arrangement two years ago so I could have extra time to care for my disabled son.
Despite some initial opposition to the idea, this arrangement has worked out very well, both for myself and the company. I waste less time commuting and get more time with my family. My employer has not suffered at all - most of my work is via e-mail and phone anyhow, and a PC at home is as good as a PC in the office with the right remote set-up.
Since this time, many more people in my organisation have been working more flexibly. The arrangement seems to work well for everyone's benefit, and for commuters the stress involved in travelling gets reduced by the occasional home working day.
Outsourcing's winter of discontent is on the way
With regard to your lead story about Somerfield's IT outsourcing deal (Computer Weekly, 5 December) and many previous stories about outsourcing, I would like to offer this cautionary tale.
At the start of the summer, on the Isle of Man, a shop offered bread at half the price of bread produced by the local bakeries. A trader shipped the bread from Liverpool every day.
After a few weeks of trading, a Manx baker featured on local radio. He pointed out that the bread from Liverpool was poorer quality. Furthermore, he explained that in the winter the boats would not be able to land, but by then he would be out of business and the price of bread would rise. From that point on, nobody bought the bread from Liverpool.
Why are UK organisations so eager to outsource? The winter is coming. The decisions like these will accelerate its arrival.
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