The business case for a social office white paper

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The social office is a term used to describe a new kind of working environment for information workers who discharge their role largely online (so-called web workers). These are people for whom information capture, analysis and sharing is integral to their role and is facilitated by the use of modern online web-based socially oriented technologies and collaboration tools. A social office represents a seed-change in perceptions of what an ‘office workplace’ looks like and how it operates underpinning by the: 1. Adoption of new working practises in the office workspace 2. Expanded use of online social and collaborative technologies 3. Emergence of strategies to gain economic advantage and operational excellence from socially oriented online business communities This paper examines the business case for a social online workplace.

Text of The business case for a social office white paper

  • 1. WHITE PAPERTHE BUSINESS CASE FOR A SOCIAL OFFICE July 2008Ian Tomlin www.encanvas.com

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ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | The Business Case for a Social Office Contents OVERVIEW...................................................................................................................................... 3 Adoption of new working practises in the office workspace...................................... 4 Expanded use of online social and collaborative technologies ................................. 7 Leveraging online communities ......................................................................................... 10 WHAT DOES A SOCIAL OFFICE LOOK LIKE? ................................................................... 11 ADOPTION CHALLENGES ....................................................................................................... 12 BUILDING A BUSINESS CASE FOR A SOCIAL OFFICE .................................................. 13 Building cohesion ...................................................................................................................... 14 Creating communities and harvesting social ties ......................................................... 14 Improving the productivity of project teams.................................................................. 16 Working on the same page ................................................................................................... 16 Bridging across silos of information .................................................................................. 17 To capture, analyze, present and share content in smarter ways ........................... 17 Improve the utilization of knowledge and corporate information assets ........... 18 BOTTOMLINE COST SAVINGS ............................................................................................ 19 Environmental savings............................................................................................................. 19 Time savings (productivity gains)........................................................................................ 19 Reductions in paper usage .................................................................................................... 20 Contact information ................................................................................................................. 23 2008 Encanvas Inc. 2 3. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | The Business Case for a Social Office OVERVIEW The social office is a term used to describe a new kind of working environment for information workers who discharge their role largely online (so-called web workers). These are people for whom information capture, analysis and sharing is integral to their role and is facilitated by the use of modern online web-based socially oriented technologies and collaboration tools. A social office represents a seed-change in perceptions of what an office workplace looks like and how it operates underpinning by the:1. Adoption of new working practises in the office workspace2. Expanded use of online social and collaborative technologies3. Emergence of strategies to gain economic advantage and operationalexcellence from socially oriented online business communities This paper examines the business case for a social online workplace. 2008 Encanvas Inc. 3 4. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | The Business Case for a Social Office Adoption of new working practises in the office workspace In the latter years of the 20th century, information workers expected to discharge their work in a corporate office. This bricks and mortar perspectiveThe bricks andof the office workplace has today become less of a reality for many peoplemortar perspective ofthat perform information-working roles. Presented with online and mobilethe office workplace access to information and applications, many information workers findhas today become themselves more productive when they balance work time between officeless of a reality forlocations; including the home office where sometimes they will typically workmany peoplefor one or two days a week. Drivers for smarter ways of working are partly encouraged by the growing capabilities of web-based software tools and mobile phones that enable people to communicate with colleagues and customers wherever they might be. Distance and location has become less of a barrier to productivity. Many employers are playing their part to encourage a change in workforce operating behaviours towards smarter working. They identify the economic and environmental rewards that come from helping workers to play it smart when planning where they work in the week. Why increase costs (plus environmental impact) and lose time by commuting to the office every day if you dont need to physically be there? Another big reason why employers are listening to their employees on matters of smarter working practises is the fact that, despite a world population of 1.174 billion young people between the ages of 15 and 24, its estimated there simply arent enough Generation Y workers to meet future employment demands.Its informationWhile employer attitudes and technologies are influencing factors, itsworkers themselves information workers themselves who are pushing for a change in workforcewho are pushing for aoperating behaviours. Workers today are more time conscious, tech savvy andchange in workforceenvironmentally aware than ever before. They dont want to waste time in aoperating daily commute when they know theyre just as capable of working frombehaviours another location to discharge their role such as their home office, coffee house or a more local branch of the business they work for. Event driven workers Time awareness is very different to new generations accustomed to instant rewards when they play digital games, swap Instant Messages with friends or watch fast-paced action movies. An on-demand consumer world is driving expectations in the workplace for a working environment that is equally instant. No surprise that when new generations of information workers meet a slow-paced working environment and find themselves being asked to commute to an office miles away that serves no greater purpose than their 2008 Encanvas Inc. 4 5. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | The Business Case for a Social Office downstairs cubby hole, they question the logic of these entrenched operating behaviours.Rather than seek aRather than seek a lifetime commitment to a single employer, informationlifetime commitment to workers increasingly view work as a series of project-based engagements. Ina single employer, fact, the nature of business has itself become more project oriented and eventinformation workersincreasingly view work driven. With a wealth of cross-organizational projects (many of which extendrole as a series ofbeyond the enterprise), senior executives very often find themselves managingproject-basedprojects, teams and outcomes rather than a dedicated staff. These factorsengagementsendorse and support beliefs of information workers that they need to protect their own best interest by developing their social relationships and grow their support networks so that they can help themselves step up the career ladder. Self-confident computer users Computer literacy in workers is higher today than it has ever been. Computing is assumed to play a role in most professions and is integral to the education syllabus of most countries. A 2009 Canadian Survey* of people entering the workplace from tertiary education found that the majority saw themselves as computer literate and able to serve themselves with the information they need. This self-confidence in computing ability has been nurtured by major mobile and Internet platform providers like Apple, Vodafone, Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Yaho that provide easy to use tools individuals can learn themselves to use and work with data. The consequence of this self-confidence in computing skills is that information workers feel given access to appropriate tools theyre perfectly capable of serving themselves with the information they need to discharge their roles online, no matter where they may be physically located.*Approximately 69 per cent of the more than 1,000 peoplesurveyed in Freedom to Compute: The Empowerment ofGeneration Y said they regard themselves as highly proficientcomputer users. This was particularly true among those between18 and 29 with a postgraduate degree, 80 per cent of whom saidthey were highly proficient. Men also tended to rate their ITexpertise highly at 77 per cent. Those who earn more than$100,000 annually thought they had a good grasp of computinghardware and software compared to those who earned less than$50,000. Environmentally aware-workers The so-called Generation Y (18- to 25-year olds) just entering, or poised to enter, the workforce arent likely to be satisfied with drab cubicles and wasteful corproate practises that harm the environment. This highly educated, mobile 2008 Encanvas Inc. 5 6. ENCANVAS WHITE PAPER | The Business Case for a Social OfficeGen-Y wants a and tech-savvy group wants a workplace that is an extension of their collegeworkplace that is an campus and thats like them: urban, flexible, collaborative, environmentallyextension of their sensitive and unconventional according to a study published in May 2010 bycollege campus and Johnson Controls Inc. of 3,011 18- to 25-year-olds in the United States, UKthats like them Germany, India and China. With the Baby Boomers retiring and millions fewer in the younger generations to replace them in the workforce in the US, UK and Western Europe, employers are trying hard to understand what makes Gen Y tick. Changing information worker cultural attitudes Attitudes* of new generations entering the workplace (currently Generation Y) towards employment relationships, social interaction, communications and environment are vastly different to preceding generations. A growin