Aug20

Designing Your Online Office

Posted by Kelly Kirkham

As a follow-up to our Online Office post we will outline the how-tos of creating a digital hive.

In a previous post we looked at a study performed by McKinsey & Company which evidenced an increase in executives using the power of social media internally in an effort to promote employee engagement and implement change. The study examined the necessary requirements of successfully creating what they call a “digital hive” within the workforce.

A digital hive is a platform where employees can engage in constructive habits, create relaxed policies and fair practices within roles and structure, and promote free thinking and creative problem solving environments.

Designing your digital hive:

Millennials are quickly claiming their positions within the office, and outdated office tactics do little to promote problem solving. As traditional meetings and conference calls become less productive and more tedious, more and more companies are looking to networking platforms to go about their everyday business.

To create a fully functional digital hive there are seven characteristics necessary to ensure productivity:

Policy:

Create an atmosphere of open exchange with a non-policy or minimal-policy approach. Rules and regulations stifle growth and fear of repercussions will limit communication.

Progress:

Monitor usage and attitudes through the analysis of inputs and outputs along with overall company morale checks.

Purpose:

Communicate to your team exactly why your online office is important to the company. This should cover the reward portion of the actions. Express exactly what you expect from the online office users to legitimize participation.

Platform:

Your online office platform should blend online and real-time interactions with an easy-to-use interface. Offer tips and tutorials for new users to involve the whole office but be sure that online time doesn’t take over face-to-face office interactions.

Pulse:

Some online office interactions should be mandatory based on important events and themes just as some real-time interactions have been traditionally. Pulses of online office activity can build momentum as a group.

Perks:

The online office should be an environment for praise and positive recognition for the sharing of ideas and teamwork. The moment negativity enters the ring is the moment engagement ends.

Profile:

Profiles without rankings will allow users to identify without intimidation to promote collaboration and community as one. Allow personality to outshine professionalism within the office; save the pomp and circumstance for the public.

Creating an online office:

Your online office will consist of two basic components: the office network and the software you have chosen for your collaborative space. If you happen to have a team of software designers on hand you could easily create your own unique digital hive, but if your business is still in its startup phase there are many options available from companies like Zoho, Box and Huddle.  

When choosing software keep the above seven Ps in mind. Make sure that the software encourages social interaction, has an option for profiles and ties in well with real-time office events. Most software sites will allow you to ‘test drive’ the software before committing so ask other employees to help you take each option for a spin for the best feedback.

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