This week here on my blog started with Working Out Loud Behaviors to Develop during #WOLWeek.
Which was followed by Asking Out Loud #WOLWeek.
And then there was Shifting Out Loud #WOLWeek.
Next on my list of xOL behaviors…
Connecting Out Loud (COL) = Bringing Whole Self To Work + Being Human at Work + Culture of Understanding
“So…Bryce…is this supposed to be a business network or a social network?”
It’s whatever the people within our company need it to be.
“So…people can only use it to talk about work, right?”
Nope, they can use it for whatever purpose they want in order to connect with other people in our company…regardless of topic…provided it is consistent with existing conduct policies.
“Won’t that distract people from doing their real job?”
Did you ever think their lives already distract them from their job, and some help, advice, relief or community support might be just what they need to get back to being productive?
My guess is if you are reading this, you’ve been part of a similar conversation.
I don’t know any better way to support this point than with some examples and stories:
- Thanks to a cycling themed community, people are motivating one another to ride their bikes to work more often. They’re healthier. Community Support.
- Same cycling community, a person got started to leave work one day, only to discover a flat bike tire and no way to get home. Posted their dilemma in the community with their mobile. 10 minutes later a stranger with a tire pump was standing at their bike to help them get on their way.
- There’s a crowdsourced wiki page of the best places in town to have lunch. It’s part of the Foodie Network.
- People help one another find good vets for their pets, good pediatricians for their children. That stuff takes time and mental capacity. Imagine the time spent calling around or surfing the internet if you didn’t have local and trusted peers to give advice based on experience?
- Holiday recipes to make for the visiting families.
- Understanding how to deal with certain traffic / parking pains, knowing alternate places to go thanks to how peers have done it.
- Using the community to coordinate a quarterly half-marathon training program.
- Advice for good gifts to get kids of certain ages for birthdays and holidays. Asking questions such as iPad or Kindle? And where to find good deals.
- Raising money to help save an abandoned and and badly abused dog that is close to being put to sleep.
- Using the community to spontaneously organize an organic t-shirt exchange when a large scale t-shirt distribution messed up who got what sizes.
- Someone desperately wanting to find a vending machine on campus with 12oz cans instead of 20oz bottles, getting a response from a few people with ideas. But then, a facilities person with the complete list of vending machines and types provided….within the day.
I could do this all day.
These are things people usually deal with at work in some capacity, or it’s on their mind at work keeping them from being productive. Except their normal help options usually are slow and time consuming. But tools like these at work make getting advice, solutions, answers and connections WAY faster and easier than just leaving all the robots to fend for themselves at work. Clear your mind, and the work will follow.
I can’t tell you personally how many people I’ve interacted with via our communities for “social” purposes…only to find it WAY easier to begin working with them if / when the time comes up that we actually need to do real work together. Particularly for me as an introvert, having those barriers broken down somewhat helps me get to productive with those individuals way more quickly.
Not to mention that as a community manager, each of these people are getting used to the very tools you want them to use for work purposes, getting ideas how that handy functionality could be used for good instead of evil!!!! (Okay, just kidding there. Seeing if you’re still paying attention.)
But the culture of understanding element of this is important. It brings a more human and comfortable feel to the online interactions, even if those are business related conversations.
I can attest visually seeing a shift over the years of seeing people talk “at” each other via the online community, with an intent to tell people what they know…to people being better at talking “with” each other and approaching conversation with an intent of understanding others. And that culture element through the feel of our network / community transcends the personal conversations AND the business-related conversations.
Humanize your work network by letting the people be people while working. It might actually help humanize the work at little bit. Particularly in a company like mine where caring for the customer is at the heart of what we do. It helps to also care for the people you work with to set that tone.
Okay, it’s Friday. This is the least organized and most “random” or my posts on this so far, but I wanted to publish another one before I checked out for the weekend. Thanks for reading! I have one or two more in store before #wolweek is officially done on Sunday.