Workplace Trend Series, Part 1 of 2
How virtual teams can improve clarity and online collaboration tools boost productivity.
In February we linked to an article on the 10 Workplace Trends to Watch in 2012, and how those trends play out at KnowledgeWorkx. Now that the end of the year is right around the corner, it's time to revisit what we wrote 10 months ago and see how much has changed and how much has stayed the same.
Mobile Devices, Open Office Spaces, Instant Communication, Reverse Mentoring, Independent Contractors, and Co-working spaces all stayed the same, but we had some developments in three areas:
1. Online Collaboration Tools
70% of our staff now regularly uses Google Docs, up from just 14% in February and we are developing an internal collaboration and knowledge sharing system based on Google Sites. All together, we are taking real strides towards making Douglas Engelbart’s 1968 vision a reality at KnowledgeWorkx.
The example pictured is a QR code that links to the online instructions for tasks to be performed at a legacy workstation. The printed instructions that we formerly used were frequently out of date and added stress to already stressful tasks. Now staff scan the QR code, log into our Intranet, and can read (and edit) the directions right on their smartphone. The instructions are always up to date, and the stress level is a lot better.
We found that sending a team member off to telecommute was a great way to re-set priorities and help them come back refreshed.
Our communication manager, who spent a month in the United States says, "Having to manage virtually gave me a better grasp on what I needed to do, because I had to be extra clear about tasks and targets via virtual collaboration. All the tasks that muddled together in the day-to-day interaction at the head office suddenly became clear, and when I came back to the head office I regained the benefit of immediate face-to-face interaction without losing the clarity that I'd developed during the telecommute."
We are exploring further ways in which we can use the clarity needed for virtual teams and the flexibility present in face-to-face interaction to improve our productivity.
Of these two workplace trends, online collaboration tools probably have the most capacity for improving our productivity. Telecommuting ebbs and flows in its ability to improve productivity and focus: a lot of the problems telecommuting solves can be solved in other ways. Tune in next week for Part II of this series: the small corporate culture initiatives that add up to make KnowledgeWorkx a great place to work.