Great workplaces with a strong culture have tools, systems and resources that enable their staff to get their jobs done wherever and whenever they choose. An obsession with identifying and avoiding roadblocks to ensure team members can work effectively is critical for an empowered organisation. Ever-advancing technology, especially cloud-based tools, present so many opportunities for us all to get more great work done.
I was invited by Microsoft's Office 365 team to head to Launceston for Round 2 of the V8 Supercars event a couple of weeks ago. Isabel Boniface, our host from Microsoft opened the event by describing herself as "A full time mum, a full time wife, a full time sister, a full time daughter, and a full time employee". She went on to say "We're all full time a lot of things. All the time, everywhere, anytime."
Organisations, big and small, that acknowledge this concept of 'full time a lot of things' and provide a workplace that enables team members to effectively get their 'job' done when it works for the individual will be the most successful in the future. When I describe 'job' I'm not only referring to the paid role that a person is responsible for in your organisation or mine; I'm also talking about their responsibilities as a daughter/son, husband/wife, mum/dad, etc. The ability to quickly and effectively manage the demands of both our personal and professional lives contribute to creating a great place to work.
Cloud-based tools can speed up the ability to manage workload more than anything. V8 Supercars have grown from a small business just a few years ago to a 70-person, 15 race "travelling circus" according to their CEO David Malone. Fast growth often creates complexity that can result in huge disruption to the personal and professional lives of employees. This disruption can impact employee engagement and happiness, it can also very quickly flow on to negatively effect business performance. To overcome these challenges, V8 Supercars are using Microsoft's Office 365 product to provide ways for employees to work, communicate and collaborate when in the office, at home and on the road.
At The Physio Co, the cloud-based tools we've added to our systems include Google Apps, Salesforce.com and Yammer along with some more industry-specific products for scheduling our team and billing our clients. After only a few years using the cloud, it's hard to imagine life without it! Don't be surprised however, if your cloud-based tools are used by team members for their other 'jobs' too. Isabel from Microsoft revealed that she has used a quick Skype call from work to home to sort out a disagreement between her kids! The result: Isabel was able to manage both her personal and professional life in a way that suited her.
Today's employees are seeking organisations that provide a people-focussed culture and that fit with their life. If you're not using technology to build a strong culture and de-stress the work life of your team, I suggest you make a start very soon.
NB - I traveled to Tassie and attended the V8 event as a guest of Microsoft. Thanks for having me guys :)