Archive for June, 2010

World Cup – work / life balance

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

An empty office
Keeping a work-life balance during the World Cup can be difficult. So much so that the UK’s Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service has provided some useful guidance:

  • Flexible, where possible – for example, by altering start and finish times during the working day or allowing longer lunch break. Remember to balance the needs of your whole workforce including those who don’t have an interest in the World Cup.
  • Clear about what you expect from employees – in terms of attendance and performance during the World Cup. Managing employees expectations of what might be possible is key to keeping them onside.
  • Communicative – start talking to each other now about the World Cup and how you hope to manage leave and working hours
  • Open and honest – if you cannot accommodate any changes to your work practices then say so. Also, you may need to remind employees that any special arrangements for watching matches are only temporary.
  • Fair – you need to be seen to be fair about the way you respond to requests for time off and avoid favouritism – don’t forget to ensure those people who aren’t interested in football aren’t in some way treated differently as a consequence, such as those with caring responsibilities, for example.

With the World Cup getting interesting, it would be a shame to let the chance to watch your team’s game slip through your fingers because you are on the road after a meeting. Why not use this as an opportunity to try out our web conferencing or remote team collaboration tools?

Seth Godin: Goodbye to the office

Friday, June 18th, 2010

An interesting post (as ever) from Seth Godin this week, titled Goodbye to the office.


I completely agree with his conclusions. But I can add one. Namely ‘What is it that you actually do during your meetings – and does that have to be done face to face now?



Yuuguu was started because we observed the same facts as Seth, and came to the same conclusions. The groupthink says we go to the office to work with other people. The reality is that the interaction is more limited than you would suppose.

Even when we are actually face to face with a colleague, does it really have to be done in the fully expensed, facility-maintained, air-conditioned, water-coolered sunk cost we know as ‘The Office’?

210px-63buildinginseoulkorea

When we looked at it, our answer was ‘No’.



Why?

Professional work has a rhythm. The team agrees goals. We break the work into chunks. We decide ( or fight or cherry pick! ) who does what. We do it – largely alone, with an occasional helping hand from a colleague. We fit the pieces into the jigsaw. We ship. The rhythm starts again.

When we looked at what we actually did during the ‘meeting up’ parts of this cycle, we found that only a small fraction of our meeting time needed to be face to face. The bulk of it is a throwback from an earlier, less-technological era.

We found that we were meeting up to simply point at things on each other’s computer screens. To chat. To have tiny, ad-hoc discussions. To ask for, and offer help. To physically lend a hand by working somebody else’s computer keyboard and mouse.

So we thought ‘what if we could make all that happen over the internet? Would that change anything?’

Pretty quickly, we realised we could change everything about the way people work. Once you realise that for much of your previous face-to-face time, you were only there because tools like Yuuguu did not exist, you can free yourself into a far more dynamic organisation.


Waterwheel - Cromford

We no longer need to be situated next to the drive shaft from the water wheel to go about our business. It is time to recognise that the ‘factory work mentality’ is just that: a mentality. Hundreds of years of familiarity with the safe, old ground of doing things the safe, old way.

But times have moved on. There are now better ways.

Yuuguu is not just about saving money in office costs (it does) and travel (it does), nor is it just about saving time travelling (which it also does) and getting decisions made faster and better (which it does very well). It is about finally breaking the 21st century workforce away from a 19th century mindset that frankly we can now do better, faster and cheaper.



And Seth Godin seems to agree. I don’t know about you, but I take that as quite an endorsement that our foundational ideas were on the right track.



Tip of the week: Add a little Smiley

Friday, June 11th, 2010

No self-respecting Instant Message chat is complete without its quota of smileys, or ‘emoticons’ to give them their more grandiose name. You can use them – or switch them off – in Yuuguu.


This video shows you how.

Video will appear here.




Tip of the week: What did we say?

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Yuuguu’s Instant Messages are a great way to conduct meetings. What’s more, they provide an easy way to find out what was discussed. So, if you’re the wrong side of your morning coffee, and need to find out what was said yesterday, the ‘Recent Chats’ feature is just for you.


Now what colour was that button, again?


Video will appear here.