Creating a more collaborative workplace – 3 ingredients you can’t miss

collaborative workplace
A collaborative workplace requires a certain degree of give and take and works on the essence of shared understanding among employees. Kevin, our guest author shares three ingredients for a successful collaborative workplace from giving freedom to employees to top management commitment. Please find his post below. Image credit : Pixabay

If you’re not fostering collaboration in your business, you will lose to those who do!

For starters, Millennials are taking over the workplace and majority of them (88%) prefer a collaborative culture over a competitive one. But more important, having all moving parts of the office work together simply makes good business sense.

Did you know?

Companies with a collaborative culture increase their productivity by 15%, reduce their time-to-market by 20%, and improve communication by 50%.

On the other hand, creating such an environment is easier said than done.

In particular, highly skilled employees – the nerds and geeks of the office – are not too keen on sharing their expertise and working with others. Many fear they would lose their edge at work by collaborating with co-workers, a point discussed in a post here at Work Monkey Labs.

And let’s admit it:

People, in general, are almost always resistant to change.

So what’s a business leader, like you, to do?

Read the rest of this brief guide and discover the five must-have ingredients for building a work environment where people love to work together.

Strong encouragement from the executive team

Supporting collaboration from the executive level isn’t just about having a mission or vision statement with the word “collaboration” in it. You need to go beyond mere words and show your support through actions.

Let’s take a look at a few ideas.

First on the list is to exhibit the behavior you want employees to adopt, and executives of the Standard Chartered bank do a fine job at it.

Members of the general management committee frequently travel to meet face-to-face and substitute for one another. Not only does this set a fine example for the rest of the company to follow. But doing so also enables executives to fill in for each other whatever the task – whether it’s to plan and run an internal event, start a dialogue with employees, or speak at a conference.

Frequent mentoring and coaching sessions can also encourage employees – both new and seasoned vets – to provide feedback and impart their knowledge. Both of which are crucial to collaboration.

At Nokia, new employees are exposed to the strong coaching culture of the company from the get-go.

Within a few days of stepping into a new job, the manager will meet with the employee and hand over a list of all the people in the organization the newcomer has to meet. The standard next step is for the new employee to set up meetings with people on the list so he or she may learn from them.

Designing an office to increase chance encounters and informal conversations among workers from different departments is another idea you should consider.

Google and Apple have done this masterfully by bringing offices together and adding kitchens and vending machines between teams.

Have you read ?

1. What collaboration is and is not . It is a habit and not a rare species
2.  The computer says yes but can AI really drive happy accidents and social collaboration
3.  How to foster social collaboration at work – Best practices

A suitable platform for collaboration

Make no mistake:

Creating a strong sense of community and having excellent leadership are essential for a collaborative work environment.

However, picking the wrong platform limits your chances of success.

Here’s an extreme example:

Using email to pass around and edit a document. The approach is just tedious and inefficient! A better way to go about editing a document as a team is to use tool like Google Docs where you can invite people, set permissions, and view changes real-time.

Clearly, you need to exercise good judgment when shopping for a social collaboration tool for your business. Fortunately, you have plenty to choose from as far as platforms are concerned, each bringing plenty unique bells and whistles to the table.

For large enterprises, Microsoft, Cisco, and Google lead the way in providing a scalable suite of tools which boast tight integration with each other.

Small to medium-sized businesses, on the other hand, turn to best-of-breed solutions like Trello because of the wide array of third-party applications built around them. Not to mention the affordable rates and low total cost of ownership are also a huge draw.

But the size of your organization isn’t the only consideration when looking into collaboration tools.

More important, you want a platform that solves your collaboration problems.

So instead of swooning over the latest buzz, ask questions like:

  • How do you want employees to work together?
  • What challenges are they facing?
  • What do you want to get out of the tool and the increased collaboration it will bring?

From here, you can create a list of features you will need. Time-tracking and a robust shared calendar, for example, are must-haves for increased productivity in the office. But you will also want to get input from your team, the very people who will use the platform.

If you can find a tool that users love and has all of the features you need, you’re golden!

And lest we forget:

Look into the platform or suite’s security features.

Go for one that offers end-to-end encryption as you don’t want outsiders getting their hands on confidential company information. Multi-factor authentication is another security measure you don’t want to miss.

Let employees do what they ought to do

Directing and micromanaging people may be necessary in some cases – like when training a new member of the staff or coaching an under performing employee. In the long run, however, micromanaging will only kill the motivation and collaborative spirit of your team.

Think about it:

Why encourage collaboration in the first place if you’re going to do all the talking and team members have to follow your instructions down to a tee anyway?

Even worse, however, micromanaging puts your employees health at risk!

In a study involving 2,363 employees, researchers from the Indiana University found that highly demanding jobs which give people little control over the way they work are associated with a 15.4% increase in risk of death.

Autonomy, on the other hand, is the antithesis of micromanagement. Giving workers autonomy means they have some degree of control in how they work and use their skills.

Dan Pink, an NYT and WSJ best-selling author, identified autonomy as one of the key drivers of workplace motivation and performance alongside mastery and purpose. And Gensler’s 2013 Workplace Survey echo Pink’s conclusion.

In the survey, employees with a say in how they work surpass their peers without a choice at work by a large margin:

  • They perform better by 5 percentage points
  • More likely to innovate by 10 percentage points
  • More satisfied with their job by 10 percentage points

Not bad for giving employees a say in the workplace, don’t you think?

If you picked the right team members and have set clear guidelines, success metrics, and objectives for the project, then it’s high time to let your team take the reins so you can focus on the bigger picture.

 

Simple internet publishing tips using social media

Social networks
Guest author Jessica writes about social media tips for internet publishing from creating a sitemap for your site to analyzing Facebook pages. Her post is below. Picture credit: Pixabay

Social media marketing is now deemed important for businesses. After all, not only does it boost brand recognition, but it also improves brand loyalty, and with the use of the right tools, success would surely be yours. So, here are 15 compulsive social media tool and technology tips that we have for you!

1. Don’t forget to create a sitemap

Having a sitemap is essential as it allows Google to have an idea of what kind of content your site has. Also, in case you have also uploaded videos on YouTube, Google would also be indexing those on your site as well.  A sitemap is the one that makes your site easier to navigate not only for your site’s visitors but for search engines too.

2. Make use of the Google Advanced Search

Using the Google Advanced Search will allow you to save a lot of time when it comes to searching for specific topics as it gets rid of unwanted results and websites. In other words, it helps you narrow down your search and exclude words that are not relevant to what you are searching for.

3. Use Google Analytics to monitor traffic

Social media marketing does not end with you creating fresh content and finally publishing them online, but you should also monitor how much traffic your content is getting by using the Google Analytics. This tool will also allow you to know the source of the traffic.

4. Use lucky orange in monitoring the activity of your visitors

You need to know your visitors better in order for you to be able to create contents that will cater to all of their needs and meet their preferences. With this tool, you can interact in real time with your visitors. You can also know how long they have been staying on your site and the kind of pages that they have visited.

5. Use Glyder to share some updates

Most people are accessing social media platforms using their mobile devices. So, you need to make sure that you reach out to mobile users as well when you engage in social media marketing, and you can do that through Glyder. This is a tool that will allow you to provide status updates. You can even use the graphical templates available there.

6. Include links containing keywords on your profile

If ever you have plans to post as a guest on the other blogs online, then make sure to include links that contain the keywords that you want to rank in your profile. After all, they would most likely just be copying what you have sent whenever you post as a guest.

7. Minimize the size of your images with Smush.it

There are a lot of things that can affect your ranking on search engines and one of them is the loading time of your pages. So, as much as possible, minimize the size of your images with Smush.it while still retaining the quality of your images. This is sure to provide you positive results from your social media marketing efforts.

8. Find the most shared content through Buzzsumo

In order for you to be able to create content that would likely be shared by your target audience, you need to know what kind of content they are interested in first. You can use Buzzsumo to find out the answer. With that, you can start creating content that tackles similar topics that are most likely to perform well.

9. Analyze your blog’s SEO with Screaming Frog

This tool analyzes all of your site’s pages, and it will provide you an idea of what areas you need to improve further before you create a new content by fetching data on your site. Hence, it can help you boost your SEO ranking.

10. Use Heyo to build your email subscribers

Oftentimes, to gain attention on social media, businesses offer special deals. However, as the main goal of your social media marketing campaign is to gain attention, you need to promote it more. Guess what, Heyo allows you to convert your fans on FB to be your email subscribers.

11. Use Hootsuite to schedule your posts

So, you have created several great posts but instead of posting them all at the same time, you should schedule the delivery of your posts with HootSuite. That way, your target audience would see something new whenever they visit your blog. Also, not only will it allow you to save some time, but it also ensures that more people would be able to see your posts.

12. Optimize your previous posts in SEO

In social media marketing, it is essential for you to ensure that all of your posts are SEO optimized. So, revisit your old post, regardless of whether it has already been weeks or months since they have been posted online. If possible, link your posts with one another. Make sure to use the keyword in your titles and descriptions.

13. Use LikeAlyzer to analyze your Facebook page

Although the Facebook insights are already there for you to use, LikeAlyzer is definitely much simpler to use. It can provide you recommendations on how you can improve your Facebook page, as well as how you can boost the engagement between you and your audience on the said platform.

14. Manage your blogs with ManageWp

Although there are people who are into social media marketing that only has a single blog to manage, there are also some who have created multiple blogs. Well, managing several blogs all at the same time has been made easy by ManageWp.

15. Track your mentions with Mention

Do you want to know the number of times that your brand has been mentioned on social media platforms including LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter? If so, then the tool Mention is what you need. What’s even great is that you can use it for free.

So, there you have 15 compulsive social media tool and technology tips. Hopefully, you can use them on your future social media marketing campaign.

How to protect teenagers from the dark side of social media

Protecting teenagers from the dark side of social media

Everyone knows the brighter side of social media platforms, where users can interact with the people of different cultures and ethnicities. Long distance relationships are enabled to communicate with each other with the help of text messages, audio, and video calling by using different instant messengers such as Facebook, Tinder, Line, Vine, Yahoo, Snapchat, WhatsApp and plenty of others alike.

These social media tools are the best for online communication. People make friends online even whom they don’t know in real life. People use these platforms free of cost, without paying a single penny to these digital media services.

People have cell phone devices in their hands and they can get access to instant messaging apps. Having the brighter side of the online media, there is also having the darker side which is continuously influencing on the positive side.

The negative side of the digital media is progressing no time ever before and young kids and teens that are very fond of social apps are facing nightmares. Let’s take a look on the darker side of the social messaging apps.

The Dark Side of Social Media

Everything has its dark side, so the technological creatures are not pretty different. Young kids and teens use the social media apps without the consent of their parents. On the other hand, if parents are totally non-tech savvy, then there huge chances that young kids and teens get harm online by using the social media apps.  All the social media mighty messengers have become the safe havens for evils. Young kids and teens sometimes adopt these evils and most of the time becomes the victim of these evils.

Cyber Bullying

We all know about bullies and bullying, cyberbullying means bullies present in the digital world and bullied online to others by using technology. The technology can be used devices such as laptops, computers, and gadgets such as cell phones, tabs, and pads. It further added communication tools such as social messaging apps and websites, chats and text messages. Cyberbullies chase young teens online on different social media platforms and bullied them by using sexual language and by using sexual explicit photos and videos, with racist sentences and with many others. Once teens got bullied online, the results could be long lasted and swear such as depression, anxiety, and stress.

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How Bots Are Changing Workplace Productivity and Collaboration

How bots are changing workplace producitvity

Artificial intelligence is all the rage right now and one of its most significant areas of impact are bots.

Bots are basically conversational software robots. Most of the time, you will find them in messaging and chat applications, but since they’re very collaborative in nature, experts predict that bots will be applied in a variety of collaboration tools in the future.

Until now, bots have proven to be extremely useful. They help businesses automate conversations and tasks, schedule meetings, pay online, or get started with an app. All that without interacting with another human being. In 2017, bots are bound to start changing our workplaces too.

Here are some essential points to show you how bots will change workplace productivity and collaboration in the near future.

Workplace Productivity & Bots

Bots have an immense potential for professional productivity because they can help employees handle their tasks without having to switch them.

Research shows that switching tasks might take away over 40% of our focus. By centralizing features within a single bot, smart employers will allow their workers to make the most of their time and minimize the cognitive load of switching tasks.

An example of a bot that impacts productivity is the Tomatobot. The Pomodoro technique helps countless workers to break up their tasks into small productive chunks and focus on achieving more within a shorter period of time. Now there’s a bot to help them do it.

The productivity bot will send timer reminders straight to your Slack channel. The user can type in what they have completed at the end of each session and the bot will show them their accomplishments within a specific period of time.

Another interesting bot is Ace. It can track tasks, polls, expenses, and more features directly within Slack.

Trello for Slack is another interesting option for transferring information between one platform and another. Instead of switching from Slack to Trello, users can update cards directly from Slack. Moreover, the bot features plenty of buttons for many popular Trello tasks to help workers get more done in a shorter time.

Communication, Collaboration, and Bots

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that bots are also being considered for their potential in facilitating internal communications between employees. In many organizations, intranet systems work as central repositories or reference systems rather than tools for interactive engagement.

Workers left without the right collaboration resources find it hard to be productive in distributed teams.

And since remote work is booming, the problem of collaboration and communication is serious. Bots might provide an answer to that need. Organizations will soon be using bots for answering short culture-related questions or helping remote workers get in touch with the right person inside the company.

For example, bots will help remote users to see all the projects another user is working on, or projects that are being developed in a different department. The bot might suggest related projects or find the document a user needs.

An example of such a bot in Slackbot. One of the best bots available on the market, Slackbot is a personal assistant that lives inside the communication platform Slack.

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