Let”s talk about OCS Presence for a moment. Specifically, what happens in the minds of others when you leave yours the same for days on end.

Do You Do This?

If your office use OCS at all, you know someone like this. You never know what Bill or Mary is doing–because they haven”t changed their Presence status in days. They”ve been “Updating the server” or “Meeting with Joe.”

Since last week? Really?

Presence is there for a reason. It makes others aware of what you”re doing. Just like IM. Are you here, available to talk? Away, not at your desk? Busy on a project, so please don”t disturb?

These are things co-workers need to know. And it frustrates the heck out of them when they can”t tell.

Why They Do It

Now the reason people don”t change their Presence status is simple. They”re lazy.

No, it”s not “I just don”t have time” or “It”s new, so I forget about it.” Those are excuses. They”re lazy and don”t value what help Presence does bring them.

It takes what, five seconds to update Presence? Nobody is so busy they can”t spare five seconds. (And if they think they are, they need to offload some duties.)

It”s Poor Communication – Why Presence is Something to Remember

There”s a very good reason why those five seconds matter. If you”re not updating your Presence status while working, it casts a bad shadow on you in the minds of others.

Little things like this can make people lose trust in your effectiveness. “He/she can”t be bothered to let us know what they”re doing? Are they not working at all? Or maybe hiding something?”

That”s the kind of thought process this starts. With stale Presence status, your productivity can be called into question. If nobody knows what you”re doing,how can you prove you”re doing anything?

Something else to consider: If management monitors employee productivity (and there”s no reason why they shouldn”t,if they do use OCS), then a days-old Presence will make them wonder. What are you up to? Anything?

Now you see where this can become a problem.

Loss of (Your) Value – What Happens as a Result

Without others able to determine what you”re doing, your value as an employee could drop. (I”m not saying this will happen. But it could.)

Why? Because people will stop relying on you. They”ll assume you”re not available for whatever reason and go about their business. They stop seeing you as a person who can help them do their job. That becomes a real problem for you. Fast.

And if management makes the same assumption? That you can”t keep “the rest of us” in the loop, so you could be screwing around not doing work? Well…

An Easy Way to Remember to Update

Like I said before – five seconds. And here”s an easy way to remember.

Plan to update Presence before & after lunch. This way you put Presence in your thoughts related to lunch. (You”ll remember lunch, right?) Associating Presence with another idea like this makes it easier to recall afterward. A little memory trick courtesy of modern psychology.

OCS Presence status should be updated every day. Five seconds. Keep it up, and retain the impression of a reliable, productive worker in the minds of others.

The OCS Insider will go on holiday from today until January 1st. Join us again after that for more exploration of OCS 2007 – and the upcoming OCS 2010. Happy Holidays!

What Happens When You Don''t Change Your OCS Presence Status
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