If the Mayans had the internet, they probably wouldn't have chosen this year for the world to end. I know that's a fairly bold statement but we see evidence of it all the time.
Even if you aren't directly impacted by this week's stormocalypse (aka Hurricane Sandy) on the East Coast of the US, it's likely that you'll know or work with someone who is. It will probably have some impact on you work. That's the curse - and the blessing - of today's connected workplace.
The curse is that if you rely on inputs to your project or your work from someone who is without power, or has been evacuated you will definitely be inconvenienced. I know I'm going through withdrawal because several customers have shut down operations for most of this week. The blessing is that the ability to work remotely means that in many cases, the final impact won't be nearly what it could have been.
As recent blizzards, volcanic eruptions and other events too horrible to contemplate (like the current presidential election advertisement onslaught) have proven, there is no way to avoid bad things happening. But more and more, people have been able to use technology to mitigate some of the problems.
Here are just some of the ways technology has improved our ability to function in the face of some of these problems.
Technology allows us to see some of this coming and plan accordingly. Does your team and company have a communication plan in place? If not, maybe it's time (okay, wait until the rain stops, but definitely have one for next time).
If you have more than one way of connecting, make sure your team knows them all. Do you have your team's land line business number, their cell, their home phone number and maybe their personal email address? If your company's servers go down, it is still important that you can connect with people. If you're embarrassed that your Hotmail address is latinlover26, it's time to reconsider that. Really.
Safety comes first. Part of the amazing ability to connect from anywhere means being smart about when and how you connect. Evacuation orders are no joke. In 25 years in the business world I have never had a conference call worth dying for. Some I thought I was going to die as a result of, but that's a different issue.
Check your priorities. What's really important? When things go bad and workers are forced to stay home with their families or leave the area, quit complaining about it. Be glad you can still have that conference call or webmeeting at all. Stop complaining about the kids, dogs and other noise associated with informal and tight quarters. Also, and I don't expect you to believe me until some time next week, but you'll find that even if things do stop for a day or two that you return to normal very quickly, and the delay probably wasn't as crucial as it felt at the time.
So, no. If the Mayans had access to webmeeting tools they might not have seen this year as the end of the world. Of course, if they had internet capabilities, they could have Googled "Conquistador" and saved themselves a whole lot of trouble.