Kill The Commute
It could easily be argued that digital transformation is the most important change management process of the last 200 years. The industrial revolution moved us from the countryside into cities. The digital revolution could reverse this entirely.
“One hour forty-five on a good day. Four hours on a bad day.” “Combined?” “No, that’s each way”. This snippet is from a conversation I was having with a friend and colleague of mine who lives in Liverpool and commutes to Manchester every day. He works for an eCommerce business overseeing their five websites and spends a minimum of 8 and half hours commuting to work each week.
That’s 34 hours a month. 408 hours a year, give or take a few hours when he’s on holiday, sat in a car. Imagine what he could do with that time if he didn’t have to commute!
In an age where we are rarely offline, why in the world are we still wasting our time and clogging up the atmosphere with our need to be in an office. Perhaps because the tools we have available to us aren’t yet sophisticated enough to replace good old fashioned face to face conversations. Having created a website for a client in Azerbaijan, splitting design, development, content and project management across three completely different countries, I don’t buy that. More likely, it’s because we’re still running businesses based on pre-digital models and expectations.
Screen sharing, video chat, private channels. Slack is like Skype, Whatsapp and Twitter all crammed together into what is fast becoming an indispensable tool for any workplace. Rather than filling inboxes with one line emails and attachments, Slack allows teams to share thoughts, images, videos, documents in an easy to use desktop and mobile application.
Hiring new staff and relocating them to a new country is daunting and expensive. But it was something that we always felt was necessary to make sure we could get the very best talent to work on our projects. There’s also no question that talking through problems or even just asking a quick question face to face can mean that we can be productive in an office environment. This personal touch is something that I always felt was missing before we checked out Pukka.
Another problem with remote work is the daily stand up. Or the lack of it at least. Catching up as a team, every day for just 5 minutes, sharing what was working and what barriers were standing in the way of our projects meant that we all knew where we were at and what we needed to do to progress. This daily interaction kept projects on track and alerted us all to problems early. Jell provides a framework for daily stand ups in a remote world.
“But I thought that was your task?” “I thought it was yours!” That sinking feeling you get when a project stalls and nobody knows why until it’s clear there was a miscommunication around responsibility. Agreedo.com allows you to track all decisions and tasks, assigning and scheduling them within your meeting minutes.
The stalwart solution for us with each and every project, we replaced email with Basecamp over eight years ago. With the ability to segment projects into boards, invite specific people to contribute to specific elements and to time and date stamp every communication, Basecamp “organises your communication, projects, and client work together so everyone has a single, central source of truth.”