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Tools for remote working - Big brother isn’t watching you?

Tools for remote working - Big brother isn’t watching you?

Or at least he shouldn’t be

The successful introduction of any tools that allow remote/flexible working or better communication in larger organisations relies on the tools being introduced with the right message.

If users are introduced to the tools properly and shown all the available functions, employees will see the benefit and this will override any other concerns they might have.

IM and Presence tools (such as Cisco Jabber) can be met with resistance; employees might well feel that these tools are being brought in to ‘keep an eye on them’, rather than to make it easier for them to communicate with their colleagues.

I can understand this as, in the past, I’ve worked for an organisation where that was very much the feeling, not helped by the fact that the Managing Director didn’t endorse remote working.

Those who worked remotely were told that the first thing they should do every day is to log in, so our colleagues could see we had started working – not the best way of delivering a message about using collaboration tools.

These tools are really useful

The message, when introducing IM, is that the tools are really useful. You can instantly see if someone is available (Green – available, Yellow – away, Red – busy or in a meeting), you can send a message in chat and escalate that chat exchange to a call.

If you are using Cisco Jabber and also have access to Webex Meetings, you can also start or join a meeting from Jabber.

Another common misconception about IM is that it makes people appear as if they are always available, so they can be interrupted all the time. This isn’t true.

All IM/Presence tools have a ‘Do Not Disturb’ option which can be switched on anytime. When ‘Do Not Disturb’ is switched on, it’s not possible to send users messages. Again it’s about rolling out IM properly and showing people all the functions.

Cisco’s new service “Webex Teams” has changed the way I work

More recently, Cisco has launched Webex Teams. This is a very new way of working, which might also cause concern if not introduced correctly.

Teams is based on a series of ‘project rooms’ with as many people in each one as required. It allows people involved in a particular project to work together and share information and documents. It also allows the inhabitants of the room to meet together with just a click to start a Webex meeting.

Spark is a very transparent way of working, allowing all members of a room to see all the messages and documents added. When a company first starts to use Teams there might be concern about the level of transparency, because this was not possible before.

However, once users get started, they will quickly find that the amount of emails they send and receive will reduce. Working in a Teams room removes the confusion that multiple emails can cause.

There’s much more clarity around where a specific project is at any one time, as all those in the room are able to see what’s happening. As Teams is persistent (the content stays in the room permanently) all the messages and documents, for the whole project, are in one place, far better than searching through loads of emails.

I use IM and Teams on a daily basis and they’ve both become so much a part of my day that I wonder what on earth I would do without them!

If you’d like to learn more about how MeetingZone can help you implement tools, which will help everyone in your organisation work smarter, please get in touch.

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WebEx, Cisco Spark, Unified Communications

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Cisco Webex, Cisco Spark

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