The luncheon meeting is planned – see you there!

Networked workers bring many assets to organizations including communication, collaboration, and productivity. For example, a networked worker with a smartphone can plan a business luncheon without ever leaving home. The worker can communicate with potential luncheon participants via e-mail, instant message, text, and social media to gage interest, select a location, set a time, and plan the agenda. The networked worker can reserve a meeting room in a restaurant, send calendar requests with a link to Google maps for the location, send a link to the on-line menu for participants to pre-select their meal and drink that will be ready when they arrive. The development of the meeting agenda by those attending can be done using a shared workspace such as Google docs and Dropbox. This example is possible because networked workers can use new technologies to quickly communicate, to effectively collaborate, and to be more productive.

The ability to communicate faster with multiple people at the same time increases productivity and provides a consistent message. According to McKinsey Global Institute the increase in productivity of networked workers could be as great as 20 to 25 percent by using social technologies. Collaborations are smoother because everyone is involved in the conversation and has an opportunity to provide input.

The networked worker can use these new technologies and tools to balance work and home (and school) responsibilities. For me the opportunity to pursue my doctorate degree would not be possible without these new technologies. I am writing this blog while on vacation with my family. Technology offers me the opportunity to meet the demands of work, school, and family. If I had a job that required me to be at the office for certain hours everyday of the week, and a doctoral program that required me to be in class at a certain time on certain days of the week, and busy kids to run around to various activities, I would not be able to balance the demand of all three.

The opportunities that networked workers bring to organizations also some come with a “side” of challenges. Two challenges of the networked worker for an organization are decrease in personal face-to-face interactions and the increase in the amount of information to interpret and manage. Many of the modern forms of communication such as email, social media, and text messages replace the need for face-to-face interaction. There are many times during the week when I get e-mails, text messages, and instant messages that could have been avoided by simply picking up the phone (or walking down the hall) and talking with me face-to-face for a couple of minutes. Face-to-face interactions are also important in building strong relationships and dealing with conflict. Social media is an easy format to voice concerns and type words that you would not say to someone face-to-face. Thus, leaders need to prevent and manage issues like harassment and bullying through social technologies with policies and consequences for those that use these new technologies in inappropriate ways.

The other challenge is the amount of information to be managed. The increase in communication and collaboration equates to greater amounts of information such as emails, social media sites, blogs, and intranets to read, process, and respond. Network workers have a hard time keeping up with all of the information and collaborations. As the Top 10 Online Colleges explains, networked workers need the ability to filter information for importance because if they don’t they might miss the next business luncheon!  

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4 thoughts on “The luncheon meeting is planned – see you there!

  1. I agree with your assessment that a major challenge of networked users is the reduction in face-to-face communications. This is further exacerbated for remote workers that may rarely sit in the same room as their team members and must relay on electronic communications for their interactions. Ditto for organizations with global offices requiring collaboration among Associates in multiple locations.
    My organization has very successfully used video conferencing to bridge the gap of face-to-face communications among geographically disparate locations. Conference calling is nice, but actually seeing the people with which you are talking is infinitely better. The conversation is more engaging, it is more difficult to mentally check out and multi-task, body language is not lost, and it is just easier to connect to the person on the other end of the camera. As a global organization, there are many people with which I work that I have never met in person and, in some case, probably never will meet. Video conferencing has made it easier to develop long-distance relationships with these Associates. It has also been invaluable in retaining talented team members that moved away for family reasons. I have weekly video conferences with two such team members and the ability for each of us to talk to each other as though we were in the same room has helped us maintain our strong relationships and keep them feeling part of the team.
    This type of communication is only possible through advances in technology and I am very thankful my organization has invested in this technology to improve collaboration among our Associates, helping to foster a truly global organization, not just a somewhat connected group of global offices.
    Thank you for your post!

  2. mysticdoc says:

    Hi Angie RD,

    “If I had a job that required me to be at the office for certain hours everyday of the week, and a doctoral program that required me to be in class at a certain time on certain days of the week, and busy kids to run around to various activities, I would not be able to balance the demand of all three.” I relate to this thought: I do have a full time job that requires me to be in an office and at meetings during the week – and my husband and I share the running around of the kids – but it is the freedom to go online at night for the doctorate that makes this life-changer possible.

    In fact, I had been looking for an online doctorate for years, since my alma maters required some form of on-site residency. That was impossible – and frankly, undesirable! I found Creighton’s program, which was such a unique find, embellished with the additional aspect of a reflective approach to leadership.

    Upon reflection, I can’t see why an onsite residency would be required “in this day and age.” Further, if relationships are the cornerstone of business (or educational) interactions, I have to say that my experience of Creighton classmates has been one of honesty, growth and integrity.

    Thank you –
    Caer

  3. I am in a similar boat! Currently on vacation with my family, I am able to continue to meet the demands of my job, my doctoral program and my family…thanks to my ability to be networked. Personally, I believe the pros of being networked far outweigh the cons. It seems as though the majority of corporate employees are not aware of all the capabilities that exist to assist them in managing their responsibilities. I’m sure they are able to utilize the majority of them to some degree, but the possibilities are endless! I consider myself to be fairly tech-savvy and I have learned an unbelievable amount of information over the last four weeks of this course — many technologies that I never knew existed!

    I am in agreement with the findings of the McKinley Global Institute — as workers become networked, corporations will see an increase in their overall productivity. Our readings this week indicated that as a result of this, there will be a decrease in the development of social capital. I think as technologies advance, it will be interesting to see how social media influences social capital. Relationships will continue to form and develop, but rather than face to face meetings, social capital will have to evolve from video conferencing, Skype, FaceTime, etc. Just as society and the corporate world have adjusted expectations and procedures in our current wired world, social capital will follow a similar path.

  4. Interesting that two of you shared that you were currently on vacation, yet continuing your doctoral studies. For the record, I am leaving on a two-week vacation in 9 days … but will continue the final two weeks of this course while gone. So it works for both sides of the class equation!

    Glad you looked at the infographic on wired worker skills. The drivers were among the interesting things to me … giving ability to manage the cognitive load through smart machines, new media eco-systems, and the wirearchy structure and networks of the wired world.

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