Aug17

Could An Online Office Boost Your Productivity?

Posted by Kelly Kirkham

Change isn’t easy for anyone. Could creating a virtual layer over your real-time office culture help changes become habit for your business?

Successful businesses are always looking for the next break to jump ahead of the competition. When a creative new direction has been implemented it is easy to get on board for a few days, but novelty and excitement tend to die down quickly. Knowing how to create lasting engagement can be troubling, and business culture can quickly override any strategy looking to create change. To create permanent change you might have to dig a little deeper.

A study performed by McKinsey & Company claims to have seen an increase in executives using the power of social media to increase employee engagement in order to implement change. The study examined the necessary requirements of successfully creating what they call a “digital hive” within the workforce.

Authors Arne Gast and Raul Lansink break these necessary components into four parts management needs to master

  • “A firm grasp of organizational culture and its social dynamics”

How well do you know your employees? What motivates them now? By understanding their current morals and habits it will be easier to custom fit an online environment suitable for all.

  • “A psychological understanding of what triggers new behavior”

People create habits that benefit them in some way. If an action triggers a reward, such as saving time or more money, then the action will most likely be repeated. Company changes should not include arduous tasks unless there is a direct benefit involved for your employee community.

  • “A determination by management to loosen if not relinquish its traditional top-down approach”

An online office will require a fair amount of flexibility to become truly useful. By creating relaxed policies and fair practices employees will have the freedom to optimize the tools given without fear of repercussion. Employers should be willing to come down a few pegs and interact with colleagues and employees within the online office environment, so as to eliminate a community divide and lead by example. Without traditional rigid office structure, your employees will evolve to become flexible to new practices and habits.

  • “An ability to demonstrate how digital activities complement offline or other real-world events”

Digital hive activity will usually soar during exciting events or in the event of a company or individual milestone. Encourage live engagement through chat, games and other cues that allow the office to interact as one for maximum productivity.

Arne Gast elaborates that the “attributes are often absent, so we find many companies struggle to maintain the momentum of initiatives to encourage broad- and digitally based employee involvement”. The goal is to create an online community, similar to other social media situations, to promote the sharing of ideas and camaraderie across departments and ranks. This team atmosphere allows for maximum participation and productivity as a whole across the entire hive.

“Digital tools to facilitate networking and collaboration propel these ‘horizontal’ cascades, which at their best can weave new patterns of engagement across geographic and other organisational boundaries,” Gast writes in the study. He explains that by fully understanding the tools, attitudes and behaviors involved in an online office, all involved can then “have new conversations around problem solving, unlock previously tacit knowledge, and speed up execution.”.

Look for our next segment detailing how to create and design your own “digital hive” from the Midphase blog, including what to look for, how to implement and maintain enthusiasm within your workforce.  

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