How technology changes work and employment

How technology changes work and employment

Two high tech companies have been in the news these last weeks: Amazon for leadership practices that some of us thought long gone, and, on the other side of the spectrum, Netflix, which just announced unlimited parental leave for its employees.

The discussion about the impact of technology on our professional and private lives include a vast array of topics: whistleblowers and NSA scandals, work-life balance, company HR policies, social norms and practices, and many other topics.

Also, the discussion is typically divided into black – white, good – evil: Those seeing and talking mainly about the risks, and those emphasising the potential. That is not surprising, because, after all, it is about technology and that – as every tool or means – can be used for good or bad.

In the end it is about the trade-offs we are willing to make. Are we informed enough to be able to weigh pros and cons, to make informed choices? Do we even know what we are trading in when we use online tools and data services?

This digest presents a few articles that show some of the trade-offs and look at a few of the issues connected to technological change and the transformation it has brought about in our societies. Continue reading “How technology changes work and employment”

Is your team chatting already?

Is your team chatting already?

Group chat is the future for virtual teams

What do you think when you hear the word chat? Do you see yourself chatting with your colleagues?

Whether your initial reaction is positive or negative, fact is, that chats are becoming the single most important means of communication for many virtual teams.

A distributed team certainly needs different functionalities for their collaboration – depending on the goals and the nature of their work – document sharing, a web conferencing tool etc. But team building happens only through the constant and seamless flow of conversation, something that only chat can provide.

A chat has mainly two functions in the team development process. There is the informal information flow and dialogue that creates a sense of nearness and belonging. This includes sharing of private information which is a basic need also in a business context. The second function of the chat is providing context information. It helps the other team members understand why a person is thinking in a specific way or why she is acting the way she does.

This digest is presenting a collection of posts that argue why chat is important, how it is becoming the key element of the virtual infrastructure of remote teams and what tools could be used to fill this function.

Start off, by reading our post (Chatting in virtual teams is more than talking about football) to learn more about why you should consider introducing a chat in your team in the first place. Continue reading “Is your team chatting already?”

Is it time to retire Email?

Is it time to retire Email?

Have you ever declared email bankruptcy and deleted your whole inbox to start from scratch? If you have not tried this approach you might have thought about it and at the very least you have spent hours, days, weeks being frustrated by email.

The Radicati group estimates that in 2013 over 180 billion emails were sent per day! And this is not the end of it: By 2017 this number is said to have grown to over 200bn emails/day.

Email has made work faster and more productive but more and more of us are experiencing the dark side of this communication revolution: hours spent a day to manage your inbox, deleting spam and bacn (don’t know what bacn is? see here), deciding if an email is worth reading or even replying, but most of all searching for relevant or up-to-date information in our inboxes.

And now not only companies start enacting policies to limit employees’ time in their inboxes, but in France a deal has been struck with a workers’ union to limit email outside of work hours.

From our point of view email is not all bad and we would follow Steven Sinofsky’s advise (see summary below): change how you work, add new tools to the mix that do the things email is bad at better, but do not ban email altogether. Continue reading “Is it time to retire Email?”

Is your workspace suited for collaboration?

Is your workspace suited for collaboration?

How does your office look like? Do you sit in a cubicle, at a desk in an open plan or do you still have a closed private room? Or are you part of the co-working trend or working from home?

As long as offices have existed, planners, managers and architects have experimented with office design. Today, technology is changing the way we communicate and work with each other, opening up yet another set of opportunities for workspace design.

Yet, often the goals of workspace design do not align: maximising productivity, innovation and collaboration at reasonable costs is tough if not impossible with one blue print design.

We have chosen a few articles from the last 2-3 months, which discuss some of these ideas and challenges. Continue reading “Is your workspace suited for collaboration?”