The thing is that it’s rubbish – you cut your mouth and if you use the spoon end it is then too messy to use the fork end.
ACTIVTY BASED WORKING (New way of working / agile working). Coined by Veldhoen in ‘The Demise of the Office’ Productivity suffers if our digital workplaces don’t reflect work style
In the domain of physical workplace design, there has been a significant move away from filling office with uniform cubicles and desks. Instead spaces are optimised for different kinds of interaction (sometimes called Activity Based Working or ABW). This is in recognition that we need specific configurations for quiet working, team meetings, social and creative interactions.
Strictly this should be ‘Hermit Cell’, in the sense of quiet work or contemplation. For many people this is the one environment where they actually get work done! It means: Isolation from distraction Focus on a single task
HOME WORKING. DW has done more than anything to make working from home SOME OF THE TIME a possibility.
Digitally this implies disconnecting from interruptions and alerts. This can be hard as we rarely have filter tools that only let urgent matters interrupt is. Microsoft too seems to be doing its best to make Office 2016 a way for others to jump into your documents for a chat.
In the physical workplace this might be a workshop room or even a dedicated project room, with walls showing charts, whiteboards and plans in common view. Team members sit in the same room, making communication with each other easy and private, but also isolating them from external interruption.
In practice a dedicated physical project room is a rare luxury: people work on multiple projects so cannot always sit with their team, and variable team sizes make them hard to accommodate. This is where a digital equivalent can offer advantages, as it is possible to be present in multiple ‘rooms’ of widely varying sizes.
We all know the Hive – it’s an open-plan office where the buzz is intentional because overhearing information and quick exchanges help people co-ordinate. The characteristics are: Visibility of what others are doing Short exchanges to share information and co-ordinate Information hand-over points Openness to those working on related tasks
Unlike a Huddle, people generally work on their own tasks, but they may be part of a common workflow. For example, accounting departments were one person updates a model in a spreadsheet which others use for their own forecasts. Many open plan offices are configured as hives but occupied by people who want to work in Hermit or Huddle mode, which is why people resent them so much.
Digital Hives need to support quick exchanges but also ambient awareness. Email is the classic tool because it is versatile. However, it is poor for quick exchanges compared to instant messaging (IM). The downside of IM is that conversations are kept private, making it hard for others to ‘overhear’ relevant exchanges. This is where Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) and activity streams come into play. Notably, many ESNs such as Yammer have also introduced an IM element so that conversations can move between modes.
Hubs are water-coolers, corridors and lobbies. They are a place for chance conversations as many people pass by (but rarely linger – that’s the Hangout). This can be good for creativity, bridging silos and extending networks.
Engineering the water cooler can be risky. One company tried to put all copiers in one place to force mixing, but it was next to a senior manager’s office, so nobody dared talk. Digitally, this is where people use WhatsApp or non-company channels to stay ‘off grid’.
The hangout is the clubroom. It is not there to facilitate work, but to enable relaxation and networking (though this may benefit work as a side-effect). Hangouts are: Open to all Help to entertain or relax, not to be productive Encourage networking Digital hangouts can often just be non-work use of collaboration tools, such as ice-bucket challenges appearing on ESNs. The important thing is to clearly advertise that a space is intended for this purpose. One UK Bank’s call centre has discussion forum purely for talking about pub trips and TV, with the caveat that they wipe it clean every week.
DW’s can struggle with this, leading to shadow IT use of Dropbox, WeTransfer etc. . Some Law Firms do it best with client portals.
I’ve been looking to buy a new boiler (welcome to my rock n roll lifestyle! You think that’s bad, I’m going to tell you about my vacuum cleaner later too).