Summer holidays, kids and work: The great juggling act of the modern parent

Posted by Terri McKinnon on Jan 14, 2019 12:29:00 PM

The New Year’s bell has now tolled and I’ve been back at work for well over a week now. The holiday break was welcomed, but it is now all hands on deck and the workload certainly didn't get the memo that it's summer, and to settle the pace. Not to mention, the kids!

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For the best part of six weeks, Australian school children are on summer break, and parents need to accommodate the minding of them during this time, usually a mix of leave taken by each parent to balance the care, play dates at friend’s houses, calling in the grandparents to help, or sending them off to camps and holiday programs.

Each of these options have been utilized by me to keep my children occupied and as a remote worker, the juggle of keeping them entertained whilst working becomes a blurred line in work/life balance.

I feel very fortunate, that GreenOrbit is a flexible workplace allowing employees to work remotely and flexibly as required. Recognizing that many of my friends, due to their occupations, do not always have the same options.

Summer holidays for me means early morning starts at 6am where I check in with projects that are happening in the US and keep in contact with the day-to-day there. As I work remotely, it's the company intranet which is my lifeline to the files and information that I need to get work done.

My children will rise and help themselves to breakfast popping their heads into my office to say good morning - then proceed to binge on every possible streaming service for the few hours, as I tell myself that their brains won't turn to mush, and I continue to work.

By mid-morning we discuss the plans that they want to do, riding bikes to friends’ houses, or visiting grandparents who live close by. They enjoy having a little independence to go do their exploring without my watchful eye. No helicopter parenting here.

By lunchtime, my work moves poolside and with the laptop setup, any number of friends could be at our house to enjoy the water.

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In starting early, I have the ability to finish earlier and enjoy some quality time with them and they appreciate that I’m not always working.

This would not be possible without the technology to support my working environment and an intranet that provides the communication and collaboration facilities to keep in contact with colleagues and continue to work.

My apologies to those that don’t have the ability to access this flexibility. I’m just very grateful that this is an option in my workplace.

What tips do you have for working at home while your kids are on holidays? I'd love to hear...

Topics: communication tools, company intranet, workplace, wellbeing, organising, mobile intranet, digital workplace

10 Ways to Engage a Remote Workforce

Posted by Annabelle Willis on Mar 8, 2018 6:15:29 PM

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In the recent Gallup State of the American Workplace Report it found that from 2012 to 2016, the number of employed Americans working remotely –at least some of the time- grew from 39% to 43%. This number is set to continue to rise, and employees already working remotely will spend more time doing so.

The appeal of flexible work is fairly obvious, particularly for those battling long commutes, raising a family, or managing a chronic illness. Your team might work on the ground or be travelling regularly. Heck, maybe you just feel that you could produce a higher standard of work today while you wear your pyjamas on the couch. The reasons for seeking remote work are varied, and research supports that the outcomes can be positive for both employees and employers. In fact, Boston College research reports that 64% of employees would choose a lower paying job if they could work away from the office just one day a week.

So, not only could offering remote work options increase the productivity and performance of your team, but it could help attract exceptional talent to come and work for you in the first place. Sounds like something worth considering, right?

Before you go ahead and cancel the lease on your office building, you’re obviously going to need the right digital tools in place to support your remote team. One of the most critical will be your company intranet, not only in its functionality but how you leverage it to engage employees. For all of remote working’s benefits, keeping staff engaged, connected and collaborative is difficult without physical interaction. Fortunately, your intranet is where you can bridge the gap.

Here’s how:

1) Detailed, meaningful User Profiles

User Profiles can do so much more than placing a face to a name. Staff need not share their life stories, but think about the important stuff- areas of expertise, qualifications, strengths and the like. Without meeting, a remote worker should be able to view a User Profile and understand what that person does, and what they could bring to a project.

2) A Staff Directory that encourages connections

Now that your User Profiles actually mean something, you’ll need a killer staff directory to make them findable. With GreenOrbit, by applying metadata to your profile, this information then becomes searchable across the intranet. For example, you could simply search the word ‘French’ to find a French speaker to interpret something for you. This makes it easy for remote workers to find topic experts and initiate collaboration, no matter where they might be located.

3) Storytelling

The mobile team at RSPCA do a fantastic job at this; regularly posting articles to their intranet sharing stories and photos of their animal rescues. In turn, they are keeping remote staff in the loop, while reinforcing and celebrating their team culture. Great job guys!

4) Digital collaboration

Distance shouldn’t hinder employee collaboration. Iwan Westfa, IT Manager at global consulting firm Ecorys, sums up the benefits (and ease) of collaborating via the intranet perfectly:

Someone in the UK posted to a #Channel that their client needed to conduct an interview with a particular type of expert. Up until then, they could not find anyone and the project was in jeopardy. Once it was posted to #Channels, an expert in the Netherlands popped up by commenting on the post. So the reporters came to the Netherlands to carry out the interview. Normally we would have just lost the opportunity, but we made a profit.”

Thanks, Iwan.

5) Private Groups

Business-wide collaboration is great, but remote workers also need to collaborate within their team. Functionality such as Private Groups provides a place for teams to communicate, file-share and come together- even when they’re apart.

6) Digitize your forms

If your forms and processes are paper-based, remote workers are going to have a rough time completing them. They’ll either have to navigate a scanner or send it to you in the post, both of which are slow and completely infuriating. Instead, comprehensive online forms will allow them to submit forms quickly, easily and accurately.

7) Recognising good work

You might be unable to give your remote co-workers a physical high-five, but social intranet tools can provide the digital equivalent. Using a tool such as GreenOrbit #Channels, you can acknowledge the contributions of remote workers for your entire organization to see. At GreenOrbit, we share #StaffShoutouts internally to celebrate exceptional work. Through likes and comments, the ‘applause’ can be heard wherever we are.

8) Comprehensive online learning

A remote or mobile worker should experience the same training and education as their office-based colleagues. Providing comprehensive training modules with workflow through your intranet means staff can become experts in a new program, sales strategy, or safety process wherever they may be located.

9) Videos

Video conferencing is as close as dispersed teams can get to chatting face-to-face. When conferencing isn’t possible, record important presentations or events and store them on your intranet to allow remote employees to be a fly-on-the-wall.

10) Find opportunities

Within our own team at GreenOrbit, we have a number of remote workers whose lifeline is the intranet. Essentially, it’s where they ‘go to work’ and can interact with colleagues on a professional and personal level.

One of our remote employees is a regular contributor to our #Photography channel, sharing his work as a moonlight events photographer. From this, we instantly knew he would be the perfect person to work with our marketing team and photograph the SuperFoiler Grand Prix. He had the opportunity to travel around the country pursuing his passion, while the marketing team had access to exceptional event photos - a fantastic outcome for both parties.

As the number of remote workers grows, so too do the expectations of the remote work experience. By implementing these tips and leveraging your intranet as a digital workplace, you’ll be able to attract and retain the best remote employees for your business.

Want to know more about how your intranet can get work going? Check out our eBook:

3 Ways your Intranet can be a Launchpad for success

Topics: Case Studies, clients, Collaboration, digital workplace, employee engagement, HOW TO, mobile intranet, mobile workforce, Social Intranet

Transforming Workforce Experience

Posted by Connie Pandos on Aug 26, 2016 4:11:32 PM

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The wellbeing of a business is determined by the wellbeing of its staff. In order to make a positive profit, your team need to feel positive about their work. Dale Carnegie Training found that “companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%.” Sounds like something worth addressing, right?

However, changing the way your team feels about work requires more than table tennis or soft drinks in the fridge. It’s about transforming the entire workforce experience.

What is workforce experience and why is it important?

Employee experience is the way employees feel at and about their work; the wellbeing and the health and cooperation of the team as a whole is workforce experience. A positive workforce experience is when you have engaged staff with an emotional commitment to tasks and achieving targets, and consequently the foundation for smarter, faster, better business.

Fortunately, it’s easy to nurture and transform many facets of employee & workforce experience through your intranet:

Mobile Intranet

Mobile intranet access is now an absolute game changer in managing employee experience. Being able to access work from a client meeting, airport lounge or home, means employees are able to do work when they need to, or feel most inspired, mobility is something that employees categorically seek and expect as part of their workplace experience.

Boston College research reports that “64% of employees would choose a lower paying job if they could work away from the office just 1 day a week.”

Positive Team Culture

Deloitte found that Enterprise Social Networks generate more than just chit-chat, stating “organizations that rolled out social media tools found a 20% increase in employee satisfaction.” Enterprise Social Networks, encourage dialogue among team members and this leads to a more open communication and a happier team. Social platforms foster these social connections and in doing so build meaningful relationships and positive team culture.

Admin and eForms

Every employee wishes that annoying paper based forms are a thing of the past.  Employees want to be able to do all their administration tasks via an intranet – a central digital workplace – where less spent trawling through files, and folders and documents, and more time is spent accomplishing targets. In addition to this, the cost savings on paper, printing, and time will even make management smile.

Innovation

Employees may feel that they can make a real, tangible difference to their workplace but they may not have a voice or a vehicle for sharing their voice. A social intranet is a space for staff of all levels to contribute their ideas and visions. Your team will grow in confidence and feel that their input is valued. They might even come up with your next big idea!

Recognition

It’s important that staff know their efforts are appreciated. Team members on all levels need to feel as though they’re a part of the bigger picture. An intranet allows for recognition processes to celebrate and encourage staff achievements. Not only will a pat on the back give employees that warm fuzzy feeling, it gives others something to strive for.

So even though table tennis and pool tables at work could be fun… their ability to engage, innovate, and nurture your workforce is questionable.

Are you smiling yet?

Would you like your team to smile more whilst at work?

If you want to make real changes to the way your team feels about work, then we'd love to show you how GreenOrbit can help.

 

Topics: dashboard, digital workplace, employee engagement, enterprise social network, innovation, INTRANET INSIGHT, mobile intranet, Social Intranet, team culture, wellbeing

Welcoming Millennials to the Workforce

Posted by Connie Pandos on Aug 16, 2016 2:20:03 PM

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Millennials are those born to the Baby Boomers.

In 2016, millennials are between the ages of 18 – 32.

Other names applied to this generation include:

  • Generation Y
  • Echo boomers
  • Digital natives

Millennials are the first generation who don’t know life without the internet and personal devices.

Staggeringly, millennials will represent 40% of the total workforce by 2020. No matter what industry you’re in, this generation is set to carry your business into the future. That means you need to understand their needs, wants, and expectations and act upon them swiftly.

So how can you millennial-proof your workplace, and attract the best of them to work for you?

It’s going to take more than a healthy salary to captivate and keep the best young workers. Surprisingly, PWC research found:

  • that while 64% of baby boomers listed their top job priority as income
  • 57% of millennials identified ‘enjoyment’ as their most important outcome of employment.

So, in one generation the fundamental reasons for working have shifted. Workplaces that nurture millennials and their new approach to work will reap the rewards in years to come.

Here are PWC’s top 5 insights to welcoming a new generation to your work place.

“90% of millennials say that work-life balance is important to them and 70% say it’s very important”.

Millennials make no apologies, they are the generation that seek to successfully achieve work life balance! They aim to fit work in around their life, and work when and where they feel most inspired.

What does this mean? They want to work less?

No - what they seek is flexibility in when and how they work.

They need access to digital content and ways to collaborate electronically. An intranet that makes work accessible anywhere, anytime is an expectation of millennials – a mobile friendly intranet is integral not optional.

 “Only 25% expected to work ‘regular office hours’, instead 38% expected to work mainly regular hours with some flexible working, and 32% expected to work predominately flexible hours”.

This generation of employees aim to work smarter, rather than longer and they expect to be rewarded on results, rather than the number of hours worked.

Improving productivity and efficiency is no longer related to increasing your hours of production and reducing costs. It’s about how effective you can be during working hours and being able to nominate when you work. So, business needs to ensure that employees have access to their work tools when they seek to work. A digital workplace is virtual and accessible 24/7 and is something that millennial employees expect you will have.

 “41% of millennials said they would rather communicate electronically than face to face or over the telephone”.

Digital communication and collaboration is second nature to millennials – they are totally comfortable with social and – they have an expectation that is how they will communicate at work.

While face to face meetings will always have their time and place, millennials expect access to ‘meet’ with colleagues at any time or place through technology.

A social intranet is a natural habitat for digital natives to thrive and prosper. So waste no time in implementing an Enterprise Social Network (ESN) that will enable constant collaboration and access to colleagues.

 “51% of those questioned said feedback should be given very frequently or continually on the job, while only 1% said feedback was not important to them”.

I often refer to millennials as the ‘blah’ generation – the generation that is ready to say something – the generation that is happy to ‘say it out loud’ – that is, ‘digitally out loud.’ They readily ‘blah’ to each other and ‘blah’ on content by: LIKE, SHARE and COMMENT.

The ability to give feedback comes naturally to them and they seek to receive it.

Millennials are used to ‘Working Out Loud’. A social intranet is the perfect place to generate feedback, discussion & collaboration.

Employees can receive constructive feedback from colleagues and have their efforts recognised by their managers. It’s like a virtual pat on the back and they are comfortable for it to happen in open public environment like the intranet.

“38% of millennial workers believe that senior management do not relate to younger employees”.

Yes there is a divide, not just in years but in expectations and attitude towards work.

Business will do well to enable ways millennials and senior management can come together and learn from each other.

A ‘reverse-mentoring’ program is a fantastic way to connect older and younger staff. Millennials “respond well to mentoring by older employees in an ideal world, they would like to see their boss as a coach who supports them in their personal development.” Pairing younger employees with senior staff acknowledges the generational difference, with both parties having their own unique skills to teach each other.

In addition to this, a social intranet can facilitate introductions and connections to be made. Millennials and senior management can learn about each other, communicate, collaborate and establish relationships via social channels and apps in your intranet.

Generation Y are not a foreign species that you need to fear – they are digitally savvy and their expectations of technology in the workplace far exceed what most organisations have on offer.

So, stop considering whether you need an intranet with social & mobile capabilities and stop wondering about whether it will deliver any benefits.

2020 is only 4 years away – you cannot afford to wait!

Contact our intranet specialists and organize a demo today.

Topics: digital workplace, INTRANET INSIGHT, millenials, mobile intranet, team culture, workforce

The office is no longer a place I go to work

Posted by Connie Pandos on Jul 8, 2016 3:36:37 PM

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It’s a cold Sunday evening… I am sitting by the fire planning the week ahead…  balancing and juggling work/life commitments… and reflecting on how the office is no longer a place I go to work.

I need to be able to work from anywhere, at any time, and I want to use a mobile device to do this.

And I can.

My digital workplace is my mobile intranet.

How did mobile work happen?

In case you haven’t noticed, mobile devices and mobile apps now drive technology & communication in most people’s lives, and they have infiltrated the workforce.

Almost everyone has a mobile device/phone and they use it all the time, including at work.

According to a Deloitte Mobile Consumer survey 

78% of people worldwide have a mobile phone”

Mobile usage is no longer about phone calls and text – it is so much more. Online shopping, banking, social media and news consumption all happen via mobile. Mobile apps have delivered extraordinary technology and flexibility regarding communication and business transactions.

Mobile work is a natural consequence of this prolific mobile usage and the expectations that mobile apps have created.

The statistics regarding mobile uptake and usage prove that people love their phones and smart devices. They use their devices all the time, including first thing in the morning:

 “78% of mobile device owners in developed countries & 93% in emerging countriesCheck their phone within hour of waking” Deloitte

Mobile device usage at work is the norm:

“47% of mobile device owners in developed countries and 76% in emerging countries – Use their mobile during business meetings. ” Deloitte

The proliferation of smart device usage is something that business can no longer ignore, and a mobile workforce is here to stay. Actually it is set to grow and grow, according to a recent iDC forecast:

“Mobile workers will account for nearly three quarters of the total US workforce by 2020.”

Who is the mobile workforce?

Let’s take a look more closely at the characteristics of the mobile workforce:

  • They own a mobile device

  • They use communication apps such as LinkedIn & Facebook daily

  • They expect social communication technology for work purposes

  • They expect flexibility and autonomy

  • The majority are millennials (those born from early 80’s up to 2000)

Whilst I am part of this emerging mobile workforce, I am not representative of the majority (I was born before the 80’s ;-). Millennial workers are set to make up 75% of the total workforce by 2025,” Pew Research Center.  It is the needs of this tech savvy generation that should to be addressed.

Companies need to appeal to the upcoming workforce and engage them with technology solutions they desire. When surveyed “77% of millennials state that flexible mobile work would make the workplace more productive for people their age.” Bentley University Survey.

Organizations should tap into the expectations of the millennial mobile workforce and towards creating a digital workplace that meets their needs.

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Social Communication via the mobile Intranet

People love communication apps such as Facebook and LinkedIn. They love them so much that they are bringing these technologies into the workplace and using them as a means for communicating with their colleagues.

Unbeknownst to you, your staff are bypassing other communication methods like email in the workplace for mobile apps. Stop this from happening! Give your workers access to a mobile intranet with social capability. Ensure your mobile workforce are productive and effective by enabling them to communicate and collaborate via social technology they are familiar with using.

Mobile Intranet

A mobile intranet is now a fundamental component to the success of any modern day organization.

Give your workforce access to documents, processes, forms and tasks etc via a mobile intranet and, align your communication and collaboration objectives via your intranet.

Connect with your current and future workforce via their mobile whilst they are at work.  Tap into their prolific mobile usage and communicate with them by providing meaningful information you want them to know via the mobile intranet.

GreenOrbit takes mobile a step further by providing a native app (for iOS and Android) - a streamlined experience that keeps your workforce connected to News and Activity Feeds even when they are out and about. 

  

Topics: digital workplace, innovation, INTRANET INSIGHT, mobile intranet, user engagement, workplace

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