Working from home, or WFH, has become an accepted practice. Indeed, telecommuting grew by 79 percent between 2005 and 2012 and continues to gain momentum. Yet some companies still believe that people always have to lunch in the same cafeteria to be effective. This belief is based on three out-dated ideas:
The assumption that when more people work in the same physical place, the company is more successful.
The belief that this is not a coincidence: that working in the same place causes company success.
A theory, invented to explain this: it must be the interactions. People must have better interactions when they are in the same place.
Unfortunately for the theorists, there's no science behind this. It is easy enough to test the first part of this hypothesis: if company success requires that its people be in the same place, then company failures should increase when its people are distributed. But none of the "25 Worst Business Failures in History" found "people didn't work in the same building" to be a cause of failure. To the contrary, Enron and the Edsel were both developed by co-located groups, as well as most of these modern, collapsed companies.
On the other hand, there are plenty of examples of companies that succeed because of distributed working. For virtual companies such as Basecamp , virtual working isn’t a perk - it's the way they do business. By incorporating virtual teams, Basecamp makes the distributed remote workforce a core pillar of company strategy. Basecamp is spread out across 26 different cities around the world, but while the head office is in Chicago, everyone is free to live and work where they want. Even though they don’t work in the same location, they’re always collaborating!
It may well be that people who sit together can communicate better, but there's a contradiction here, too. Think about that term, "sit together." How many people can you sit closely, really closely, with? Two? Four? Maybe twenty? It's often assumed that if people working on the same project can sit next to each other, they should. However, the nature of the modern job, the modern project, is that we collaborate with a range of teams on a range of projects, even on different facets of the same project.
Whatever the reason, the modern workspace is, more and more, an open workspace. This openness allows employees to see and hear one another, but this openness is uncontrolled, so every fruitful connection is outnumbered by irrelevant conversations, sneezes and general noise out there in the open. Beyond their drain on productivity, these overlapping conversations in open plan offices can make their way to customers and competitors through the open microphones of telephones and desktop devices. Managing this distracting sea of sound is nearly impossible, yet it has been well documented that environmental noise slashes worker fatigue and accelerates fatigue. Recent studies show that today’s open plan office spaces are built on a false economy, saving rent but adding distractions that slow down well-paid employees and make their work more sloppy.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Tools are available to facilitate agile, comfortable communications among far-flung extensions of the business environment and enable to organisations to defy distance while collaborating in real-time.
Good communication is an essential part of effective collaboration, but it doesn't really matter whether those collaborators are five feet or five thousand miles apart. The UK arm of headset manufacturer Plantronics, based in Royal Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire, currently offers an option for remote working across the whole of its UK workforce. Implementing a good coordinated approach, the company has an IT strategy to support this, which includes the adoption of unified communications programs.
Building a collaboration strategy that supports a vibrant and location-independent organization doesn't just let people communicate easily when they're still within driving distance from headquarters; it builds into the corporate infrastructure the same ease of conversation across cities, states, and around the world. The winning collaboration strategies are those that take advantage of the powerful resources available today, leverage within-site and across-site collaboration enablers, and embed the agility to continue adding new abilities that are constantly enhancing whole location-independent collaboration environments.
Check out my latest WIRED blog posts to read more about my thoughts on how good communication is an essential part of effective collaboration.
Healthcare, Education & Government Director - EMEA
I'm part of the global Industry Solutions team at Polycom, working in healthcare, education and government. I've been in the industry for nearly twenty years, and have spent the last ten helping healthcare organisations realise the benefit of the Polycom platform for better results.
Story teller and technology enthusiast. Loves the nuts and bolts of how a technology works. Enjoys hearing - and re-telling - anecdotes of how video is fundamentally improving collaboration, efficiency and productivity across all industries. Native of New England who loves lobster, his family and the Red Sox.
An evangelist for technology used in music and entertainment. I enjoy being able to bring people together be it a band with their fans to colleagues discussing a big project. I have faced the many challenges of bringing higher quality video to TV and movie productions and live events. A Chicago native and living in Austin, Texas since 1997, you will find me with a camera and recorder capturing and streaming almost any sort of event in Austin. I have traveled all over the world, but my favorite location is anywhere with a nice beach, my wife Carol next to me and a boat drink in hand!
I have traveled all over the world, but my favorite location is anywhere with a nice beach, my wife Carol next to me and a boat drink in hand!
Expert in content, collaboration and media, with over a decade of industry experience ranging from HP to ITV in London. MBA from Emory University; BA in Journalism from UGA. Traveled to 40 countries on 5 continents.
Over 15 years of experience in technical solution sales for commercial, education, and government. Specializing in networking technologies and unified collaboration. Chad has been with Polycom for over four years supporting channel partners.
Christine is on the Solutions Marketing Team at Polycom. She is responsible for the SoundPoint IP, VVX and UC Software solutions. Christine launches and generates the creative and strategic marketing plans to drive revenue and profitability growth for these VoIP hardware and software product lines. She is the subject matter expert of these products and related technologies. Christine supports all Polycom Sales, Polycom VARs, Service Providers and Channel Partners.
Dr. Deborah A. Jeffries. How do I help people pursue health and happiness? My background: Patient Care, Collaborative Video for Healthcare, Physics, Engineering, Lecturer. Goal: Enable innovative programs that support better patient access, experience, and outcomes with cost effective systems. One answer: Blogging to share ideas and visions. Although the views and comments are mine, I hope they will help others, and perhaps bring a smile to someone’s face now and then.
Elaine Shuck has earned a global reputation for melding unified communications to support educational achievement. Elaine knows the hard constraints facing today’s educators while recognizing the high expectations of digitally connected students. She has designed and implemented programs that not only stretch scarce dollars but also inspire students as they collaborate with renowned thought-leaders. An authority on social media, collaborative learning, and the use of best practices in distance learning, Elaine works with a host of educational groups and is president-elect for USDLA.
Internal communications professional and corporate journalist by day; mom, wife, gluten free baker and traveling enthusiast by night. Bay-Area-raised and now living in and loving the Denver area. All views expressed are my own.
A Polycom Fellow and co-founder, engineer, writer and pianist. He’s had a strong interest in human audio and visual communications for many years, spanning broadcast, business and vertical applications. www.jeffreyrodman.com
Jeff is a Polycom Solutions Architect focused on helping customers integrate Polycom video conferencing solutions and UC endpoints with Microsoft OCS and Lync environments. His pubic contributions include TechNet forum participation and moderation, writing technical blog articles and white papers, presenting on UC topics to virtual users groups online, and representing Microsoft at TechEd and other public conferences.
With nearly 15 years of experience in the video-based collaboration market, I’m passionate about helping customers enjoy the full potential of technology solutions. At Polycom, I’ve focused on marketing immersive telepresence, vertical and voice solutions, and currently concentrate my energy on our advanced services offerings.
A multifaceted communications strategist with over 10 years’ experience developing and executing measurable marketing and communication programs for global corporations. Please contact me if you have questions about The Partner View and to suggest topics for our experts. EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Director, Global Channel Strategy & Programs
Channel strategy and programs leader with over 20 years experience in the video collaboration and telecommunication industries. A passion for designing program concepts and leading cross-functional teams through strategic planning, design and implementation. All views expressed are my own.
Laura has more than 14 years of experience in marketing and product management roles in the video conferencing industry. She holds a double degree in International Business and Management from the University of Texas at Austin and currently resides in Austin. An avid runner, she also serves as the Charity Team Polycom Race Lead.
Bay Area-based Corporate Communications Specialist at Polycom. Social enthusiast with experience in building communities with a focus on brand and customers. Passionate about coworking and collaboration!
Marci Powell is Global Director for Education at Polycom and Chair Emerita and Past President of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA). Powell is a classroom teacher, administrator, and industry expert in the field of educational technology with extensive experience in applications related to lifelong learning and innovation.
She serves as an advisor to public and private sectors in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific sharing global best practices and trends in education as a fellow educator and futurist.
Her articles on distance learning have appeared in publications such as USA Today and has been quoted in numerous publications such as Financial Times, University Business Magazine, and Auckland Herald.
Marketing Specialist at Polycom with a focus on demand generation through great content and even better data. Social media enthusiast and digital marketing expert in training. Also a huge hockey fan born and raised in San Jose.
Global Director of Government Solutions Market Development
Alphonzo ("Zo") Albright. My goal: marry IT & Business! I have extensive background (24+) years driving Government performance. Former CIO and Deputy Commissioner Office of Administration and Intelligence NYC Government. As Global Director for Government Solutions, I work with partners in the creation of safe, tangible, cost saving solutions that embrace innovative video technologies to better support Justice Services, Public Safety and Citizen Services, and more. Alumnus of Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government; Lincoln University, PA.
With 25+ years in the Unified Communications industry, I’ve had responsibilities in Product Marketing, Product Management, and Service Operations. My current Marketing role at Polycom is focused on Polycom’s Microsoft solutions and Technology Partners with “Polycom Ready” solutions. Outside of work, I enjoy hiking, music production, blogging, and attending technology related meetups in and around Silicon Valley.
I specialize in helping organizations find ways to improve communication and collaboration. Not just with technology, but also with the plans, policies and procedures to make collaboration effective and show strong ROI.
Over 25 years of experience in AV industry specializing in professional video, audio, automation and communication technologies. Randy has been at Polycom four years as Director, AV Integrator Business Development.
Sr. Dir. of Solutions Marketing, Polycom Services Worldwide
Services are a critical component of customer success, and Polycom and our partners offer a full portfolio of support, managed, and advanced services to help increase the value of Polycom solutions at every step in the buyer’s journey. Roger has held leadership positions in product management and solutions marketing at Polycom and has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the communications industry. He has a B.S. degree from the University of San Francisco and currently resides in Austin, Texas.
Ron Emerson, RN BSN. He is a former member of the board of Directors for the American Telemedicine Association and Chair of the Industry Council. He has more than 17-years experience in the healthcare industry. He is recognised as a thought leader in Telehealth, having developed a variety of innovative video-based clinical, medical education and social service applications, and consulted on telehealth deployments worldwide. He also held the position of Executive Director for a large telemedicine operation in the United States, where he was responsible for the efficient provision of services to 350 sites. Mr. Emerson was the recipient of the 2010 American Telemedicine Association Industry Council Award for his leadership in the advancement of Telehealth.
EMEA Communications Leader - With 16 years experience in B2B2C communications, I lead the charge on PR, Social Media, Customer Marketing and Analyst Relations in EMEA. Passionate about technology and how it can change your life. Mummy to Lucy. Views and comments are mine.
Corporate Communications professional with Polycom’s Internal and Corporate communications team. Experience and expertise in social media, public relations, writing and internal communications. Passionate about social media, sports and travel.
I joined Polycom in Q4 2011 and manage the Microsoft business as the Executive Director of the Microsoft Alliance. Having spent 16+ years previous to my Polycom role, at Microsoft, I know my way around Redmond reasonably well. My last 5 years I was responsible for building the Lync field sales organization so I’ve got a lot of familiarity with the product and their go-to-market strategies and tactics. I’m super passionate about the UC space and believe that video communication and collaboration will fundamentally transform the way we work and how business gets done. That’s why I came to Polycom – to participate in delivering on that vision. I’m married, have 2 adult children and enjoy golf, hunting, fishing and boating in my spare time.
VP of Marketing for Polycom EMEA responsible for the marketing strategy and execution in the region. 18 years experience on leadership, marketing, strategy, product management and business development in the unified communications and collaboration industry.
In my spare time I have a love riding motorcycles on race tracks, collecting classic bikes, cycling and of course spending time with my wife and 3 daughters!!
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