With the advent of widely available video and other enterprise and mobile collaboration tools, remote workers are now fully enabled to improve productivity, remain aligned and engaged with the organizational strategy, all while meeting most employees desires for flexible work. It’s time for a new term which will take us into the future. As a start, let’s call this new age ‘socialcommuting’.
Remember the days (some of you still practice this very same protocol) when you sat at your desk, dialed into a conference call, turned on the speaker phone and put yourself on mute? You then promptly turned to your screen and began answering emails, working on that spreadsheet that was due a week ago, or worse, began looking for good bargains online. The only time you paid attention when was someone called your name, at which time you immediately realize you have no idea what is going on. You make up something like, ‘can you please repeat that, my phone was garbled’ to cover your tracks. But since everyone else is doing something similar, we calmly repeat the question so everyone else is on track. It’s a time waster, productivity drainer and decision making disabler.
Fast forward to many companies who are already socialcommuting; with the same scenario as above. This time you dial into a video meeting, have opened up the document to be reviewed on a cloud based shared drive, and are instant messaging your colleagues for clarification and instant answers. Everyone is paying attention (because we can see if you’re not), is reviewing/editing a shared document (which drives empowerment and accountability), and is chatting in the background for clarifications (which drives speedy decision making).
Now the previous waste of an hour on a conference call is replace by a 30 minute socialcommuting session where we all leave the meeting aligned and satisfied. What’s your preference? If you’re not socialcommuting, it’s time to get started!
Some data to get you thinking:
- 1.3 billion people will work remotely using mobile technology by 2015. That's 37.2% of the entire workforce. Source: International Data Corporation (IDC), 2012
- HR professionals say videoconferencing will be their preferred method of communication in 2016. Source: 2013 Redshift Research on behalf of Polycom (See the related press release and infographic.)
- Video yields a 35% greater year over-year improvement in time to hire. Source: Aberdeen Group research report 2014, ‘Bridging Distance in the Talent Lifecycle’