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Insights library meetups Organisational Change Work Life Balance

People are better together

 

The world is changing,

Employment is changing,

The way we work is changing,

The flexibility people want,  is the flexibility organisations need to stay relevant and competitive. 




7% of Australians find work through the gig economy. This way of working is expanding around the world as people look for flexibility, choice and autonomy in their work;life balance. Global Consulting Firm, Deloitte, summarised in a recent research paper

“​​The composition of the workforce is changing dramatically. As alternative work arrangements become more common, how can organizations appeal to, engage with, and drive value through workers of all different types?”

Within their research they found that 42 percent of the survey respondents said that their organizations are primarily made up of salaried employees, and employers expect to dramatically increase their dependence on contract, freelance, and gig workers over the next few years.

Essentially, companies are moving away from established work forces and moving to the more flexible engagement options to both be more competitive but also to attract the talent they need.

 

What a beautiful opportunity for the world

Here we have an opportunity to empower people to enjoy their work and work in such away that is inline with who they are and how they want to live their life, and at the same time provide organisations with the flexibility, agility and expertise they need to stay relevant and competitive. 

 

The raising of consciousness

As technology has been evolving, so have people. 

People are searching for more in life. More meaningful work, more contribution, favourable life experiences, more happiness in their day-to-day and ultimately searching for answers to the fundamental questions of life. 

This can be seen by the ever-growing self-help industry and the expanding interest in alternative spiritual practices. Meditation is now near normality and yoga studios are brimming with those in search of inner peace and understanding. 

You’ve heard it before; the common story of a professional climbing the ladder well into their 40’s, finally reaching the top only to throw it all away in search of something more meaningful. This realisation of ‘time and purpose’ seems to be discovered earlier in careers than ever before. 

Professionals are looking for alternative ways to have both a successful career and live the life they want to live. Traditionally, it was one or the other, impossible to have both within the confounds of organisational structures and corporate hierarchy. That is no longer the case.

 

The project economy

As people are valuing their time more and taking steps to find more meaningful work, many are looking to contracting, freelancing and project-based work for more choice and flexibility. 

However, this can often mean losing out on the benefits of employment, such as friendship among co-workers, training and development, culture and belongingness. 

 

The importance of human connection

It is an innate human need for people to be together and to feel connected to others. It has been at the core of our survival for thousands of years and although we as people love our tech and being online, ‘the 3rd screen’ has crept in between the relationship of people which as a result left people feeling lonely. (ironic when there are more people in the world than ever before). Studies carried out in Australia suggest that loneliness is so pervasive that it may be highlighted as the next public health crisis. 

So how can we have independence and connection at the same time?

 

Project Teams

Throughout 2019, Digital Village has been exploring the concept of “freelancing cross functioning teams” working on a project basis. Projects are defined by business outcomes with clear metrics to measure the level of success. 

We have found this way of working to be more enjoyable, more rewarding and more effective for the client. Because, there is more accountability, more responsibility, more dependance and reliance on the professional to get the job done. The team structure is important because the responsibility is shared among the small team and people are eager to work together and be supported by each other. There is no option to hide behind the large curtains of the corporate brand and pass responsibilities to others. 

 

The end. Or not…

It’s a crazy world out there, things can happen incredibly fast and anything is possible. Both good and bad. The beautiful thing is that we have a choice and have the power to create the future we want for ourselves and for the planet. 

Life is too short to not enjoy our work, and the world needs our work to contribute in a positive way. What you do matters. 

What about you?

Are you a professional in IT or digital? Are you interested in learning more about joining a Digital Village team and working on projects?

Learn More

Or are you within an organisation and feel that a Digital Village Project Team might be a good solution for an upcoming project?

Learn More

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Digital Transformation Insights library meetups Organisational Change Work Life Balance

Navigating through the Jungle of Technology

Technology creeps into all parts of our lives and it be can be all consuming and paralyzing.

But the purpose of technology is to make our lives easier. Where did we go wrong and what can we do about it to turn it around and have technology work for us.

In September 2019, a valued member of the Digital Village, Charlotte Rose-Mellis lead a workshop highlighting 3 ways to improve your work:life balance and have technology work for you by actually using it less!

With a Bachelor of Science (Psychology & Business Management) and a Graduate Diploma in Psychological Science, Charlotte’s work is influenced by a passion for human-centred design and a decade of experience integrating tech, business and impact as a self-taught web engineer, to create lucrative solutions that regenerate natural environments and grow revenue simultaneously.

Recent career highlights include Speaking at TEDx Tahiti, Finalist for the Young Sustainability Champion NSW and Winner of FYA Pitch the Future (Tech for Good). 

Enjoy!

(Scroll to video)

The weekend before this event I spent the weekend camping and bush walking through a National Park. I observed the similarities between navigating through the Jungle of technology and that of find ing our way through the jungle of technology in business.

 

My friends and I spent quite some time at the campsite beforehand, planning our route up the mountain to where the rivers form a Y and the mountains get high and beautiful.

Looking on the map, seemed simple enough. Looking from the top of the ranges, the treelines and river direction seemed easy to understand. A-B.

Technology in business is similar to this. Often it can seem simple enough, but it is easy to get lost. 

We started our decent into the rainforest to find the bottom of the gorge with a plan to simply follow the river upstream. 

However, the further we went and the deeper we got into the vines, our view of our goal and destination along with how we planned to get there had to change. Navigating our way through the jungle required responding to unforeseen circumstances and constant course correction. There were some paths that led to dead ends. There were some sections that were just not crossable, and we had to find another way round. 

It is the same when running a business. The deeper you get into projects (in-particular technology based projects), your view of your goal and destination along with how you planned to get there changes. Business and technology is an uncertain environment that is constantly changing. Things happen, and you need to be flexible enough to adapt. There are some experiments that lead to dead ends. There are some milestones that don’t get met or features that were just not doable and you have to find another way round.

The perspective changes because there is too much happening right in front of you. Getting distracted by smaller problems and obstacles. There is a million ways up the river but how do you know which one is the best? There is so much else to attend to, that it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. 

A business owner has a jungle in every part of the business. There is a lot to take into consideration and it is a challenge to keep up with it all. For example, it would be wise for a business to adopt a CRM and related marketing technologies to more effectively communicate with their customers and manage other important business metrics. But, how is the average business owner expected to know which technology is best suited to their business? Here are their options:

martech

And that is only marketing technology!

There is technology for every part of the business and it is highly important that the right technologies are chosen with a clear vision for the future. 

The beautiful thing about technology is that almost anything is possible. It can change your business and your personal life as well. But in many cases I’ve seen, it has the opposite effect. Driving people to the brink of breakdown out of frustration, stress and inefficiency. 

The core of any business is its people. The people who serve the customers and the customers who you’re serving. Technology should be looked upon as an enabler of this. To facilitate value being provided or related transactions, communications etc. Anything more is likely getting in the road. 

Until next time

Jason

P.S. we made it to our destination even though it took us longer than expected and we took a completely different track. We got to where we wanted to go and the journey was great. 

What would have made it easier, is to have a local who knew the terrain and the obstacles to help guide us through the jungle.

Where are you going with your business? What role does technology play? How do you plan to choose your adventure and who would you like to embark on it with?

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Digital Transformation Insights library Nomads Organisational Change Work Life Balance

Remote work is the future, how to help your distributed team thrive

Remote work is the future, how to help your distributed team thrive

Remote work, definitely a trend I’m sure we have all been hearing more of. Globally many companies are going remote-first, fully distributed or changing their current people strategy to allow remote work as a viable option and we are talking more than just a WFH policy.

There are several reasons people advocate for remote work such as removing the unnecessary commute, access to the global talent pool, cost reduction (though while operational overhead costs may be reduced, there are new costs associated with going remote you should budget for), higher employee engagement and improved lifestyle for your employees.

Personally, I’ve been working remotely and managing a distributed team for 6 months now. While I would say this is the first fully remote experience I’ve had, I have many years of experience working with and managing offshore teams across the SEA region. This definitely helped make me aware of ways to work with people who are not based in the same office as myself, some of these fundamentals I want to touch on today.

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend a fantastic conference, based out of Bali, Indonesia called ‘Running Remote’. Attended by some big names from the remote work movement, 24 inspirational speakers who were well placed to speak to us about their experience with remote work. Some of the names involved were:

  • Nick Francis, Help Scout
  • Andreas Klinger, Angel List & Product Hunt
  • Marcie Murray, Shopify
  • Anthony Pompliano, Morgan Creek Capital
  • Marvin Liao, 500 Startups
  • Zack Onisko, Dribbble
  • Ken Weary, HotJar

Pulling what I learnt from this conference along with my own learnings from living it, these are five areas I would make sure you focus on ensuring success with your remote team.

1. The right level of process and systematisation

With a remote team, more than likely you are working across multiple timezones, you will communicate via chat or video calls and it’s unlikely you’ll have the same level of interpersonal communication you’d have in an office. Which means you won’t have someone nearby you can tap on the shoulder for advice or you won’t be able to keep an eye over the new guy to make sure they are on the right path.

To get around this, you want to have more documentation and guides on-hand your team can easily refer to. You want to train your team to document everything they do as second nature and ensure team members are rarely left stuck on how to approach something. If they are stuck, this needs to be brought to your attention quickly so it never happens again. The SCRUM framework could be useful here to provide clear steps to structure the team process, along with a daily stand-up where everyone mentions their current blockers. Don’t forget a wiki-style documentation tool to allow quick creation of documents, along with easy access and search functionality.

2. Trust and autonomy

You will need to trust your team if they are remote. You may be concerned they might use remote work as an opportunity to reduce the level of effort they put in, this is not a good way to think. If you want to embrace the remote work way, you must trust your employees, not worry about their minute by minute actions and measure their performance based on their output.

To minimise any concerns they are not being productive, make sure your companies mission and vision is clear, also ensure the team objectives are understood with clear deliverables. Build-in as much automation into their workflows as you can. Ensure they can make their own decisions, move quickly and not constantly rely on you or other team members to help keep momentum. This also relates to the previous point of well-documented processes. You may also want to look into OKRs or something similar to give a standardised framework for goal setting and company alignment.

3. Culture and team building

Keep it fun. You will not have the luxury of going for a drink after work with colleagues, or regularly doing other group activities, make sure everything is not too serious. Look at ways to keep it light-hearted, if a lot of your communication is over chat, it could be easy to fall into only communicating task lists, making it very robotic. Don’t forget there are still real people behind those words, some of them may miss the interaction they enjoyed from being in a physical office previously. 

If you are using Slack, there are some add-on apps you can investigate to help encourage this, kudos style apps to show appreciation and don’t forget giphy to add a little silliness to some messages.

While you cannot interact in person with each other every day, it’s still important to make sure you meet your team in person and spend some time together. You will learn a lot more about a person this way. Organise company retreats and meet-ups, the logistics of this will depend on your overall remote structure. I’ve heard it said many times, a happy company creates happy customers and you need customers or there is no company.

4. Communication

Communication underpins all of this. If the team is not communicating well with you and each other, then none of the above will matter, however, if you address the three above points the communication should be easier and more free-flowing.

Encourage non-work conversations, ask random questions on team calls to allow everyone to get to know each other better. Don’t be alarmed, ultimately all of this will benefit the work that is produced because everyone will feel more relaxed with each other and those difficult conversations that need to happen will flow more naturally. Encourage regular calls, team leaders and managers need to speak with their team regularly individually and together at a regular cadence. 

Make sure there are company-wide calls allow the leadership team to communicate the mission and the vision while opening up the floor for your employees to ask questions. All of this come’s down to a shared understanding, the more people are on the same page the more likely everyone will unite.

5. Cultivate more awareness

To ensure you can pull the remote business off, you will need to know what is going on. Previously you could easily walk around your office, talk to a few people, read people’s body language and get a good sense of the general mood of the company. You must tune into what’s going on, using your intuition to understand how your employees are doing without the ability to observe a room.

Make sure you regularly check in with your employees, provide a self-booking calendar employees can book in to speak to you one on one if they wish. Make it easy for feedback to be provided. Again, you could make use of Slack here with feedback bots or just mail out a simple form on a monthly basis. Then there are several ways you can structure but ultimately you want to keep on top of the heartbeat of your company before it starts beating erratically.


There is no one size fit’s all here for remote work, you’ll have to tweak this for you but ultimately this is becoming a widely accepted business model. I encourage you to experience this if you haven’t already and see how it could work for you.

Hope the insights were helpful and gave you some ideas on how to fine-tune remote work for your team or company. If you have any questions, feel free to add me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Experienced & Written by Geoff Wellman


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Digital Transformation library meetups Organisational Change Work Life Balance

Meetup 7: Technology Skills of Tomorrow

Technology Skills of Tomorrow

Strong technical skills alone is not enough to run a successful IT project. A combination of communication and soft-skills along with business acumen is needed to be sure that objectives are met and outcomes are delivered.

The Problem

Business owners struggle to articulate what they need in a way that makes sense for a developer to do their job. And equally as much, engineers struggle to articulate the complexities of software to their clients in a way that makes sense to them. Technology is expanding and becoming even more complex, and businesses are relying on tech more than ever. So this problem is only getting bigger.

The importance of communication and soft skills in IT projects

The combination of technical and people skills in IT projects is so great that we have partnered with an organisation who specialises in coaching engineering teams in communication and leadership.

The Accelerator Program (Provided by Cred)

Cred works with governments and corporations to train and develop IT teams in communication and leadership and to focus on delivering business outcomes rather than focusing on only code and features. Cred has partnered with DV to deliver an accelerator program to enable IT specialists to level up their career, be in demand, over-subscribed, and to increase their income and stability. To learn more about this program click here..

The Digital Village Producer

A Digital Village Producer is a project leader who understands people, business and technology and can translate business requirements into technical solutions that deliver business outcomes.

Digital Village connects  ‘hybrids’ (a person who speaks both man and machine) to businesses on a contract and project basis. Learn more about the DV model here.