Communities, "Smart Mobs" and a followup to the HR discussion…

March 3, 2007 at 10:08 am 1 comment

As a followup to my earlier post on Exploring Communties and Corporate HR, I thought this a worthwhile discovery to share (thank you Smartmobs.)  There’s an interesting article in Business Week on Co-working.  The concept is not particularly new, but I like the community nature for its motivation and the potential for new ventures that comes from people co-habitating in these sorts of environments. Check out the co-working wiki for information about efforts in your local area. 

This article got me thinking about my own work habits.  Some people are very successful at working productively at home, I’m not.  Now, I didn’t say I don’t work at home – just ask my wife about my mistress – my Toshiba laptop!  But I’m not super productive at home, it’s more likely that I’m treading water in my inbox vs doing really proactive work.  Likewise, there are certain tasks I find hard to do in the often interupt driven nature of an office environment.  Examples here include research based reading, writing employee performance reviews, doing long range planning…oddly enough, it is often the work I would describe as “thinking.”  In fact, have you ever been sitting at your desk just thinking, and had someone walk by your office, look in and see you, and suddenly there is this awkward moment where you feel like you should defend why you look like your are just sitting there??

Just sitting and thinking may be the most valuable thing you can do that you aren’t doing enough of today.  I frequently schedule time to simply dissappear into my “mobile office” which has become one of 3 preferred wireless enabled Starbucks in the area. 

I don’t think I’ll personally get on the co-working train, but I like the idea and if I ran my own business I think this would be an amazing resource to take advantage of.  One of the things I don’t like about my “mobile office” is I have no interest in connecting with others while in the coffee shop – it’s too random a group and I’m there to think after all.  However, I like the notion of the co-working venue where others are there to work but you likely share common interests – in that environment I would want to form relationships and it would feel additive to me, not like a distraction.

One semi-related internal Microsoft story on this.  Many of our Subsidiary locations in Europe have an “open office” plan.  What this means is that no one has truly set space/offices, but it is all open/shared.  The first time I experienced this was at the Microsoft UK office in Reading.  Frankly, I was confused.  This is a big office – hundreds of employees – and everywhere you looked people where gathered in little clusters talking.  It felt very distracting at first – almost noisy.  I remember thinking…”what are these people doing??  Don’t they have work to do?”  By the end the first day, where all my meetings were held the same way, I was sold on the idea.  Like any organization, the hierarchy still existed, but it felt more transparent, more open.  The conversations everywhere stopped being noise and became buzz.  It was kind of exciting.  Something you just have to experience.

So, I thought all of this interesting food for thought on the how Gen Y workstyles, Web 2.0 lifestyles and HR functions relate to the way business gets done in the future.

Enjoyed this read…Digg it here!

Sean

 

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Entry filed under: General Community Discussion, Web 2.0 and corporate HR.

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