We’ve been assisting to a fundamental change in the workplace caused by the increased use of technology in our private and professional life.
Can you remember those times when your office computer didn’t have internet yet and was just used as a document elaboration tool? Or when there weren’t even any computers at work? We barely can. And now, if you think about how much time you spend in front of a computer during office hours, it probably counts to more than 90%. Doesn’t it?
The impact technology has had in the workplace in the last twenty years has been really incredible. And since technology and especially smartphones had a massive influence on our personal life, it should be in the interests of companies to keep up with these changes and embrace them.
In fact, around twenty years ago Intranets were invented and adopted by employers as a tool to connect employees and facilitate collaboration. Yes, intranets are still relevant now (we believe) and they’re hard to substitute or replace.
However, there are a few newer technologies that can be either incorporated inside an intranet (such as Gamification, Video, and a lot more), but now some of the biggest companies are turning to office-based social networking. One popular example is Royal Bank of Scotland launching Facebook at Work. And this trend is not likely to change.
As we saw in this article, “Enterprise Social is […] the use of social software to maximise productivity, improve communication, promote collaboration and generally improve the transparency of your business by making information more available in spite of operational boundaries”.
The fact that Social Networks are now more accepted in the workplace and are less perceived as a form of distraction is not so surprising. With the increase of digitally-savvy generations at work and with Millennials (who are born digital) now entering the workplace, companies can only find it beneficial to adapt to newer ways of communicating, such as Enterprise Social.
Let’s have a quick look at some of the pros of Social Networking in the workplace.
People are now on their phone all the time, we all know this. With WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger dominating real-time communications, chat-style messaging is now the way to go. Social Networking is mobile-friendly and means that it is accessible anytime, anywhere. But one of the most important things is that it incredibly simplifies everything: people just need their mobile to be a part of the conversation.
Because of their mobile-friendliness, Social Networks have an incredible usability and communication is real-time, as we said. What is more, they free employees from desktop-based applications and often make life easier. Usability is user-centred (as we saw here). The needs of your employees/users have shifted and social networking probably represents their needs (instant and real-time communication) better than other medium such as email. Immediacy, transparency, rapidity, clarity are all features which improve user experience.
The natural and conversational chat-like feature stimulates interaction between employees and facilitates real-time collaboration. Kevin Hanley, director of design at RBS, announced for example that Facebook at Work helped “the bank drive a more transparent, collaborative and non-hierarchical workplace culture”. Transparent, engaging, collaborative are all strictly connected to Enterprise Social features.
What is the result of all this? Productivity and Employee Engagement. The right type of communication will ultimately strengthen collaboration. Employees will feel they’re a proper integral part of the team and working together they will be engaged, motivated, and will have a positive impact on the bottom line.
Clarity International is an award-winning expert in building bespoke Intranet tools and applications enabling companies to interact with their national and global workforce. Find out how we’ve helped other clients, such as BT, TEVA and Alcatel-Lucent boost their Employee Engagement by taking a look at our Case Studies.