RN Future Tense: The Changing Nature of Work

What impact are new design practices and changing technology having on not just the physical office but also on the way we think about work itself? Is the idea of the individual office a thing of the past? In this program we explore the physical, social and cultural trends affecting the changing nature of the office and the way we work in the 21st century.

Another great episode from Future Tense. I was recently talking about activity based workplaces (ABWs) and this podcast provides a good overview of Macquarie Bank’s Shelley Street building and the overall trends in open plan office spaces. Again, the role of technology is highlighted as a key factor but balanced by the need for the new leadership skills in the workplace, particularly as workplace demographics change. The show also discusses the impact on worklife-balance and our relationship with the people we work with.

Trying to fix how people use email can backfire

Some attempts to limit email haven’t gone as planned. One client of Christina Randle, a workplace productivity expert with the Effectiveness Edge in Austin, tried remedying employees’ email overload by banning staff from sending messages on Fridays. It backfired. Employees just stored outbound messages and sent them all Monday morning. “Instead of getting 100 messages on Friday, [people] got 200 in their inbox on Monday morning,” she says.

If you want to fix email in the workplace, you’ve got to treat it as a systemic problem.

Patient Opinion Australia

Patient Opinion was founded in the UK in 2005 and since then has grown to be the UK’s leading independent non-profit feedback platform for health services. Patient Opinion Australia (POA) was established in 2012 and, similar to its UK counterpart, is registered as an independent not-for-profit charitable institution. Patient Opinion is about honest and meaningful conversations between patients and health services. We believe that your story can help make health services better. How it works:

  • Share your story of using a health service
  • We send your story to staff so that they can learn from it
  • You might get a response

Your story might help staff to change services Share your story and help make our health service better!

I’ve frequently shared the story of the original Patient Opinion with the Australian Gov 2.0 community, so I’m really excited to see Patient Opinion Australia (POA) finally launch. Its going to be interesting to watch how Australian health consumers and institutions respond to the idea.


Looking around at the small amount of coverage POA has received in the media and social media, it looks like we’ll have to work through the same concerns they experienced in the UK:

Nurse for Nurses blog:

I have a concern with the anonymity of the process. Our existing government complaints process is also anonymous and this has led to organisations being put under the microscope because disgruntled people have used the process to mischief make.

I am also concerned that this website will encourage people to circumvent existing complaints management systems and use this website as their first port of call rather than giving the organisation an opportunity to address their concerns.

ABC Radio National:

Norman Swan: So what do you do about the fact that some people in the health care system who have some of the most difficult circumstances have the least access to online sites such as yours? So that you’re going to get the middle class complaining but not people who have three kids, single parents and out of work?

Michael Greco: Well, again experience in the UK has shown that that’s not quite the case. There were some concerns about for example, that elderly people don’t use the internet. Well they’ve disproven that.

However, they have received more positive coverage on the Australian Ageing Agenda (also provides a lot more background on the project in Australia).

Forget if you build it they will come

Adoption is a fulltime job,” said Staresina. “Forget if you build it they will come.

A quote from Emily Staresina about the SharePoint + Newsgator intranet recently implemented at Australian property development company, Stockland. Since they launched at the end of last year, about a quarter of Stockland staff have completed their Newsgator profiles.

Social intranets and the rebirth of internal comms

An example

Recently, there was a large conference at work with many senior managers in attendance. Traditionally, the internal communications staff would write up an article after the event, post it on their intranet portal, and send an email to employees with a summary and a link.

This time, though, those same communications people selected more junior staff (outside of communications) to attend the conference and serve as roaming reporters. The reporters posted live updates throughout the conference using the firm’s new collaboration platform. Communications staff also posted but they added to the conversation instead of dominating it.

Now, without email and without searching, people at all levels from around the world were following the conference by following real people (“I felt like I was there”). And, more importantly, they were able to participate.

The graduates were particularly active, asking questions and contributing content. But senior people at the event also used the social platform, soliciting ideas and feedback, adding comments to other conversations. People discovered the hot topics via their newsfeeds, added comments and likes, and interacted with people across their division (and some from other divisions).

We’d never had anything like that before.

Better for the individual and for the firm

Far from being dead, the internal communications function at that conference became much more valuable. They went from producing impersonal content with few readers and zero feedback to using social tools and practices to engage a larger audience in more meaningful ways.

Whether you’re a communications professional, a senior manager, or just someone who has something to say, that kind of transformation is available to you.

If you’re still relying on people coming to you for your message (or visiting your portal or reading your email), then you’re missing one of the biggest communications shifts in history.

Great story about how social intranets are changing internal communications for the better. Don’t keep you intranet stuck as a destination, make it a platform for employee participation.

Quoted in the SMH about the benefits of enterprise microblogging

Microblogging is great for maintaining a cohesive work environment among geographically dispersed offices, says James Dellow from the social business consultancy Headshift.

“With access to microblogs, executives can be in touch with what’s going on across the whole organisation. In a virtual sense, the CEO is sitting next to the employee.”

In the future, Dellow says enterprises will be using data analytics to pick up issues, trends, and opportunities from microblogging conversations.

I was quoted in the SMH, in an article by Cynthia Karena who was looking at the benefits of enterprise microblogging with tools like Yammer, Chatter and tibbr.

Deloitte’s 90 Day Implementation Plan for Yammer

I stumbled across this recent Webinar aimed at government folks in the US about Yammer, which outlines how Deloitte’s went about launching it to its global user base (Yammer originally started in Deloitte Digital, in their Australian practice). Deloitte is one of Yammer’s high profile success stories and its one I’ve been tracking for a while.

Formally launched globally within Deloitte on 11/11/11, they followed a 90 day plan to implement Yammer:


Only yesterday I was talking about Yammer governance on the Headshift Asia Pacific blog, so its interesting to see the elements that Deloitte included in its plan:

  • Communications;
  • Training;
  • Technology;
  • Risk/Governance;
  • Policy;
  • End User Advocates; and
  • Progam Management.

You will also note they distinguish between the activities required to launch and achieving a “steady state”.

By following this process, Deloitte report in these slides that:

the Deloitte Global Yammer network now exceeds 43,000 members.

This is about a quarter of their employees (~180,000 in total).