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An Unlikely FREE Collaboration Management App

An Unlikely FREE Collaboration Management App
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What if you had a completely turnkey solution for managing multi-threaded interactions with teams? What if this application handled scheduling, status updates, RSS feeds from collaborative blogs, group messaging, 1-to-1 messaging, photo and screen capture sharing, and more? What if it permitted secure group communication for people inside and outside of your company? And what if you didn’t have to convince your IT department to install it?

Sounds powerful, right? Sounds useful.

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Facebook Does All This

Facebook started out as a college application where students could find each other, build digital renditions of their real-time social networks. (Beyond that, I’d recommend googling their history, as I’m just making it up). Where it is NOW is a clean, well-designed, open-to-3rd-party-applications platform that utterly blows away MySpace as a social networking tool.

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But for business? Chris, you’re joking!

I thought about this today. Here’s what you get with Facebook and their 3rd party apps:

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  • Email client.
  • Status client.
  • Groups – which permits 1-to-many messaging, discussion threads, im-like interaction.
  • RSS support to import your team’s blogs (Your team isn’t blogging?), wikis, etc
  • Calendar / Event app.
  • Twitter app.
  • Flickr app.
  • News feed that tells you what people in your “friends” (your team, in our case) have done differently with their account lately.

Am I Crazy Here?

This is a technology that accounts for a lot of what we might want in collaboration management, hosted on hordes of servers we don’t have to touch, at the cost of free, and probably the only thing an IT department might gripe about is sharing company info outside the firewalls. Is that a big issue to your organization? Then maybe this doesn’t work 1:1.

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Go ahead, shoot holes in my theory. I thought it might be interesting to consider, at least. What do YOU think? Are you using Facebook? As a business?

Update: Daniel Johnson has a blog post and audio interview on a similar vein. Worth checking out.

Chris Brogan blogs at [chrisbrogan.com]

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

Why Working 9 to 5 Is Outdated

Why Working 9 to 5 Is Outdated

Bristol is the most congested city in England. Whenever I have to work at the office, I ride there, like most of us do. Furthermore, I always make sure to go at off hours; otherwise, the roads are jam-packed with cars, buses, bikes, even pedestrians. Why is that? Because everyone is working a traditional 9 to 5 work day.

Where did the “9 to 5” Come From?

It all started back in 1946. The United States government implemented the 40 hour work week for all federal employees, and all companies adopted the practice afterwards. That’s 67 years with the same schedule. Let’s think about all the things that have changed in the 67 years:

  • We went to the moon, and astronauts now live in space on the ISS.

  • Computers used to take up entire rooms and took hours to make a single calculation. Now we have more powerful computers in our purses and back pockets with our smartphones.

  • Lots of employees can now telecommute to the office from hundreds, and even thousands of miles away.

In 1946 a 9-5 job made sense because we had time after 5pm for a social life, a family life. Now we’re constantly connected to other people and the office, with the Internet, email on our smartphones, and hashtags in our movies and television shows. There is no downtime anymore.

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Different Folks, Different Strokes

Enjoying your downtime is an important part of life. It recharges your batteries and lets you be more productive. Allowing people to balance life and work can provide them with much needed perspective and motivation to see the bigger picture of what they are trying to achieve.

Some people are just more productive when they’re working at their optimal time of day, after feeling well rested and personally fulfilled.  For some that can be  from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m; for others, it could be  2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

People have their own rhythms and routines. It would be great if we could sync our work schedule to match. Simply put, the imposed 8-hour work day can be a creativity and morale killer for the average person in today’s world.

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Productivity and Trust Killer

Fostering creativity among employees is not always an easy endeavor, but perhaps a good place to start is by simply not tying their tasks and goals to a fixed time period. Let them work on their to-do list at their own pace, and chances are, you’ll get the best out of your employee who feels empowered instead of babysat.

That’s not to say that you should  allow your team to run wild and do whatever they want, but restricting them to a 9 to 5 time frame can quickly demoralize people. Set parameters and deadlines, and let them work at their own creative best with the understanding that their work is crucial to the functioning of the entire team.

Margaret Heffernan, an entrepreneur who previously worked in broadcasting, noted to Inc that from her experience, “treating employees like grown-ups made it more likely that they would behave the same way.” The principle here is to have your employees work to get things done, not to just follow the hands on the clock.

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A Flexible Remote Working Policy

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer famously recalled all her remote workers, saying she wanted to improve innovation and collaboration, but was that the right decision? We’ve all said that we’re often more productive in a half day working from home than a full day working in the office, right? So why not let your employees work remotely from home?

There are definitely varying schools of thought on remote working. Some believe that innovation and collaboration can only happen in a boardroom with markers, whiteboards and post-it notes and of course, this can be true for some. But do a few great brainstorms trump a team that feels a little less stressed and a little more free?

Those who champion remote working often note that these employees are not counting the clock, worried about getting home, cooking dinner or rushing through errands post-work. No one works their 9-5 straight without breaks here and there.  Allowing some time for remote working means employees can handle some non-work related tasks and feel more accomplished throughout the day. Also, sometimes we all need to have a taste of working in our pajamas, right?

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It’ll be interesting to see how many traditional companies and industries start giving their employees more freedom with their work schedule. And how many end up rescinding their policies like Yahoo did.

What are your thoughts of the traditional 9-5 schedule and what are you doing to help foster your team’s productivity and creativity? Hit the comments and let us know.

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