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Being accessible is one of the most important challenges that webworkers face. It’s critical that colleagues and clients can be in touch whenever they need you — it helps reinforce the idea that you’re working and not “working,” and it is a boon to actually getting things done, too. But there can come a point where you have too many points of contact.
When you have…
…a cell phone, land line, Skype number, and backup VOIP line for people to talk to you
…and a number of email addresses where people can leave you more detailed messages
…and several IM clients
…augmented by online project and team management sites
…and various videoconferencing platforms…
suddenly you’ve transitioned from accessible coworker to frustrating obstacle course.
If your customers and colleagues are spending several hours downloading clients, setting up accounts on various systems, and otherwise initiating specialized ways of reaching you, your technology has become more of a problem than a solution.
Not only is there the initial hassle factor, but there is the ongoing fuss of deciding which of the half a dozen ways to get in touch with you is going to be best in any particular circumstance. And while having a single point of failure (“He’s not answering the phone!”) is risky, user fatigue from having too many points of potential failure (“He never picks up the cell phone, and forget about hearing back in [email protected]#$%@#$!”) is also problematic.
You need a small set of ways to get in touch that consistently reaches you, like right when they call, not when you get around to picking up your voicemail. Real time accessibility — wherein your colleagues and clients can reach you predictably and easily — is essential.