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

Enterprise IT as the Torchbearer of Workplace Productivity

Posted by Kath McNiff on Dec 20, 2018 2:00:00 AM

 

We expect a lot from our digital workplaces - that's because as tech consumers and smartphone aficionados we know what's possible.

From paying bills, to booking appointments and bingeing on Netflix - we've grown accustomed to smooth interfaces and predictable digital experiences. Things just work - and if they don't, well... there's an app for that.

Enterprisee-IT

Chaos vs Control

Jumping between apps is fine for us as individuals, but spells chaos for the IT professionals in charge of modern digital workplaces.

At the office, collaboration is king and organizations need a cohesive way of getting things done. If some people are on WhatsApp and others are on Messenger - how can they share ideas and get work going?

This dichotomy leaves Enterprise IT caught between a rock and a hard place.

Employees want to use their flavor-of-the-month tools and, since the IT procurement team don't want to rain on anyone's parade or halt real productivity gains, they may turn a blind eye or add the tool to the already congested software register.

Thing is, this tool might be great for one department but a nightmare for another, and there's a good chance it'll be thrown to the curb when the next shiny thing comes along. 

Enterprise-IT-chaos

At the other extreme, Enterprise IT might put their foot down and get serious about which tools are allowed and which are not - because how do you manage security and maintain a level of assurance in an 'anything goes' software scenario?

To maintain control, the organization might have a well-defined process for selecting software solutions - and refuse to stray from the Preferred Vendor playlist. They may even stick with tired legacy infrastructure because it represents a significant financial investment and "is the way things are done around here".

In the first scenario, IT is left picking up the pieces of an impossibly fragmented workplace - while in the second they're being blamed for forcing everyone to use outdated and inflexible technology.

Is there a happy compromise?

The Middle Ground

Tim Flower, Director of Business Transformation at Nexthink, believes there is.

In a recent webinar via CMSWire he said the answer lies in taking a step back and spending time on research, reflection and strategic thinking.

The key to an exceptional digital workplace is not about the latest shiny app or complicated technology stack - it's about people and the tools they need to get work done.

Flower suggests that IT teams need to benchmark the current digital employee experience and look for evidence-based ways of improving it.

He says they need to spend less time responding to isolated issues and more time empathizing with users and understanding what a typical day is really like.

This involves taking a holistic view of the digital workplace backed up by quantitative and qualitative data - what are people doing and how do they feel about it?

Flower's company, Nexthink, makes a nifty device that gathers this intel as people go about their day-to-day work.

Oscar Berg - the webinar's co-presenter and author of  Digital Workplace Strategy and Design - shared this slide to emphasize the power of asking users to "tell me how you really feel":

Enterprise-IT-slide

No sugar coating that. Email overload hurts productivity but no one considers complaining to IT about it.

He goes on to explain that productivity takes a nose dive when workers are faced with "interruptions, inconsistently designed systems and bad performance".

As both experts rightly point out - once IT teams truly understand the barriers to productivity in their organization - they can make informed decisions about the best way forward.

They can take a proactive stance and look beyond the issues that cross the help desk: "I'm stressed out by the number of tools I have to use" said no support ticket ever.

5 barriers to productivity

Making Informed Choices

To calm the chaos of disparate communication tools, Enterprise IT might choose to deploy a digital workplace that has everything built in. One that gives users the social and collaborative features they crave without the distractions of platform-switching and multiple sign-ons. 

To free themselves from the tyranny of support tickets and reactive problem solving, IT may look to implement a digital workplace that's secure, cloud based and easy to maintain - and do away with the complexities of shared licenses and messy payment cycles. 

Focusing on the Big Picture

By implementing a digital workplace that's high on productivity but low on maintenance, IT professionals free themselves up to focus on what really matters - providing a digital employee experience that delivers true business value and measures up to the expectations of today's tech savvy workforce.

The correlation between effective collaboration and productivity is well documented - and Enterprise IT is uniquely positioned to ignite this flame.

Starting a fire instead of always putting one out!

To get a head start with improving productivity in your organization, download our free ebook: 5 Barriers to Productivity in the New World of Work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Topics: workplace, productivity, Collaboration

GreenOrbit (formerly Intranet DASHBOARD) Accelerates Growth Expansion on Three Continents

Posted by Terri McKinnon on Jun 21, 2018 5:42:13 PM

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At GreenOrbit we are experiencing unprecedented growth.  Recently we've opened three new offices across the USA, Australia and India, marking a significant leap in our company’s growth strategy.

Stewart Bairstow, CEO said, “This is an incredibly exciting time for GreenOrbit. By laying roots down in these regions, we are able to build even stronger relationships with regional clients and increase our presence in local markets,” 

“Another benefit will be the opportunity to leverage the density of technology talent in these areas and expand our dynamic team of development, consulting, marketing and management professionals.”

Our business now operates from nine locations throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia and services clients across six continents.

 

Topics: digital workplace, intranet, intranet dashboard, INTRANET INSIGHT, roi, sales, workforce, workplace, business growth

My Mum & Dad’s House

Posted by Connie Pandos on Aug 3, 2016 3:44:40 PM

 

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Mum recently had surgery. Before heading home Mum and Dad’s house required reorganization to make it more comfortable, practical and safe.

I decided to tackle this rather daunting task in the same way I would conduct an Information Architecture project for an intranet. I consulted with all stakeholders: doctors, physiotherapist, occupational therapist & GP who contributed valuable information and helped define the requirements.

This is a 35-year old family home where my parents raised their children, celebrated many occasions, toiled and created a beautiful & bountiful garden, and cooked and shared hundreds of meals with family and friends.

I had to now sort out this house full of STUFF:

  • Practical stuff
  • Extra stuff (that belongs to my sister and I)
  • Once upon a time stuff
  • Use occasionally stuff
  • Memories stuff
  • Other stuff

OBJECTIVES

To allow them to continue to live happily in the home they love. To simplify, reorganize & declutter their house. To make their house more relevant for their lives and needs today; and to make it easier for them to live in their home.

CHALLENGES

They refuse to move to a smaller more relevant house – I had to make this one work.

Mum now needs a walker to move around, she cannot go upstairs to her bedroom, she cannot bend, she needs hand rails, and Dad needs a dedicated home office because he manages her care and the home.

RISKS

Mum does not like change – relearning is not easy even if it is better.

CARD SORTING

The first thing I did was I emptied all the cupboards onto the floor and sorted. I clustered the like items with each other, I created logical groupings, dinner plates all together, pots and pans in a group, glassware in lots etc. I removed unnecessary duplicates and threw out broken or lone teacups and saucers. I did 4 x car load trips to the Opportunity Shop of mainly clothes and linen.  It’s a big house.

LAYOUT & DESIGN

I assessed rooms and their function, I considered layout and location of furniture, I reviewed the relevance of appliances and whether they were safe/practical.

I drew a plan of the new layout & design. I hired a couple of removalists for the day. They moved stuff around, they took stuff away.

The lounge room is now Mum’s bedroom, a chest of drawers, a wardrobe and her bed have been relocated from her old upstairs bedroom. The old chest freezer is gone – it has been replaced with a new upright one. The cupboard under the stairs that was full of everyday stuff has been emptied and relocated to a more practical safe area in the laundry. Hand rails have been installed in the downstairs bathroom and a ramp installed at the front porch. I removed unnecessary accumulated furniture to make it easier to move around with her walker.

A lot of the stuff in their house had been in the same spot so long that it had effectively morphed into ‘wallpaper.’ I leaned in and touched this wallpaper and lifted off 3 dimensional stuff. I held books from the World Book Encyclopedia edition 1979 in my hand and realized they had to go- they no longer served a purpose. I removed these unnecessary non-functional books from the bookshelf and created shelf space to use. I decluttered and styled the house in a more minimalist and practical way to make it easier to manage day to day.

I ripped away the old wallpaper and redefined design and space.

EDUCATION & TRAINING

Mum came home on Monday. She walked around the house with her walker and re orientated herself. I made her a cup of tea and we talked. Later that day we walked around together and I showed her where things now were. I explained the logic I had applied in grouping like things together. I told her where things now were, and explained she could call me any time to ask if she could not find stuff. I assured her that nothing she needed was gone, nor was it too far from where it once was.

ENGAGEMENT & USER TESTING

Mum liked some of the changes, others things she was not so happy about. Mum smiled and frowned and later that day, after I had gone home, she called and complained. This is a difficult time, it very uncomfortable for her – she feels disorientated and her home feels different, but she understands it’s all for the better.

Again, I explained why things needed to change, I explained to her that the needs she now has have defined this whole re organisation. Mum is slowly accepting her physical state, the need for the house reorganization and for the improvements that have happened.

It’s now a lot easier to have a shower, it’s a lot easier to cook a meal in the kitchen, it’s much easier to get to the pots and pans, and Dad loves having his own home office. It’s going to take time for her to settle into the new improved home– I need to continuously reassure her. Like rebuilding an intranet; it takes time, it takes consideration, and it takes some ruthlessness. But in the end, to have somewhere that serves you exactly as you need makes our lives better, and is so worth it.

Now to deal with my own cupboards…

The GreenOrbit team will get you up and running in no time - with a digital workspace that drives productivity and takes you where you need to go - see how.

Topics: challenges, content, Design, digital workplace, education, Information Architecture, intranet, INTRANET INSIGHT, layout, organising, Planning, risks, training, user engagement, workplace

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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