10 things I do not like about the digital and networked workplace - The Beginning

By Sebastian Thielke Feb 3, 2016
10 things I do not like about the digital and networked workplace - The Beginning

Translation of the Original Article by Sebastian Thielke 

Let us get started. I think it is time to face the fears, annoyances and problems about corporate networks and the digital workplace. All we hear is that it will be indispensable, and that through it we will be ready for all of the digital challenges. Theories are all very well. But they are nothing but ideas of marketing and advertising. No one cares about everyday life, the real work or about the practical things. Therefore, here now is my list of things I do not like about the whole digital collaboration.

And somewhere there are also a few playful answers. After all, I will not leave you alone with the fears, problems and annoyances.

1. Pointless tools in our overloaded corporate world

Why should I work in Communities or with others in a Network? Nonsense. I have a highly specialized application, where I perform my daily work for almost 8 hours. I do not have the time for that. To me such a Network is superfluous and pointless.

I am right. The digital and networked workplace will not make everybody happy. And neither is that the purpose behind it. It is no jack-of-all-trades. Many employees of a company, who have a digital workplace, are in highly specialized or customer-centric software and workplace environments for the majority of their working time. Particularly the processes, approaches and interfaces are however the things that would involve me in the Network out of that situation.

Replacing those jobs cannot be the goal. Much rather the task should be to gain an insight into the daily work of these specialized instances via Use Cases and to identify possible challenges. Based on this insight collaboration and networking can be integrated very practical. But if it does not fit, then it does not fit.

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2. Why change when everything is well

Everything works great for the company and me. Now they even expect the employees to talk to each other. Like we don’t have enough problems already. Besides, it is a waste of time and money. We should just work more concentrated.

Really, Mr. Thielke, it is not as simple as that. Of course, companies are well positioned in Germany and in particular the SME sector. Nevertheless, a well-positioned company must meet the challenges of the markets. Even if these are not directly perceptible.

The Exchange in the corporate context is nothing new. However, the conversations are not limited to the exchange at the Coffee machine. The point is rather that the employee can participate in corporate communications. Interested employees are no longer condemned to consume, but can simply represent their own position. Experience shows that the courage to display problems beyond the own circles helps more than postponing and lamenting in Silos.

3. Channel overload by too many applications

[A classic.] My Mailbox is already full enough, and now I am supposed to look for whatever in an additional channel/network. Never. I am fed up.

I can understand my fear. Although it is diffuse, it is also somehow justified. The way we still handle Email does not instill much hope that we will do away with our self-produced overload. Intelligent assistants should and will provide a remedy here. However, we have to relearn the information and the way we deal with it. We have to work economically with email. The networked workplace offers the possibility to extract the information, communication and work flows from the medium of the Inbox and to transfer them into the simpler and more accessible format of the network. This allows at least the internal e-mail communication to be reduced drastically. If in addition clear rules and arrangements for dealing with the format of the email arrive, then the channel overload is resolved quickly.

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4. Local problems are still more important to me than half of the world

It is all well and good, if I know what happens in Stuttgart, Hamburg or Weilheim but that does not affect me. This does not solve the problems that I have here. That's enough for me completely.

Oh Mr. Thielke, a bit too shortsighted. Who says that your problem is not even an issue at another location? Maybe this is an opportunity to implement a successful event from Hamburg in Weilheim? If you look at it that way, then the company moves closer together via the network and the various bits of information. It will be again more the one company that you experience every day.

But, of course, the principle here is that the tool adapts to your needs. If you only want the local, then the network offers exactly this filter. You just have to decide, if only temporarily, what you want to see. Maybe a little tip from our approach: A small pocketknife with five blades cuts each ribbon well; you do not need to bring the whole toolbox. Approach your information in small steps and do not get overwhelmed by functions and options.

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5. I like the idea, but unfortunately not the content

I quite like the idea to network your company and your workplace. But. When I try to find something, I cannot find it. Every time the search engine only shows me nonsense I do not need. I give up, none of this works.

I am correct, and I understand myself here. The search and understanding how to use it is its very own field at the digital workplace. Above all this issue begins with oneself. Mr. Thielke, the question is: How do you search? Use a plurality of contiguous words and combine the search terms. Actually, you only need to apply, what you do on Google every day. The search engine in the networks use similar algorithms.

When we speak about starting yourself, then this also goes for the behavior, how you the user handle information, sharing, marking and indications. An important pillar in dealing with the networked workstation is the consciousness for sharing and finding. Use the opportunity of the day. Use it in every situation, be it a file, post or wiki or community. A tag makes the search easier for others. If everyone takes this premise, then the search will improve across the entire network.

Let me tell you, this will go on. There are a few more: I do not like. But, first of all let what has been said sink in and wait for the next post. Alternatively, if you have already taken on a bit of courage again, then we will see how we can address the fears, annoyances and concerns.

About the author

Sebastian Thielke Consultant Digital Transformation
Social Business and Enterprise 2.0 - Strategy Development, Enablement, Communications and Value added with the main focus on: People form the company.

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