The Life of a Remote Worker.

I am a proud and happy remote worker. I am also really productive. People often think that these two statements are mutually exclusive. But myself – and all my colleagues – are evidence that they are not.
Currently I am based in Melbourne, my work is predominantly associated with organisations across Latin America, and my manager is in San Francisco. This means I am living and breathing in one country and time zone, working in another, and reporting into a third. People often ask me if I feel lost, confused, unaccountable or disconnected. But to be honest I feel empowered, efficient and productive.

I regularly work at home, at cafes, co-working spaces or – now it is warming up – in parks. This way of working allows me to be get inspiration from different environments, get silence when I want it, work with people when I need it and also make it to the bank when it is actually open.  Last week I also found productivity in a Melbourne laneway (True. Hub Melbourne shifted all their furniture outside for the day and it was superb).

This style of working regularly comes with small agile start-ups. Groups of people who are forming around a shared vision and passion, not a shared office space. And traditionally as you look at larger, older organisations the structure, cubicles and stacks of paper on desks increases.
Originally I was part a small start-up like this, Yammer. Then we were acquired by Microsoft and we thought that perhaps our days of being empowered to work where and how we were most productive would near an end. Pleasantly, we were so wrong. Microsoft is one of the few large global organisations empowering employees to do just this.
The Microsoft Australia head office, for example, is all activity based working (no-one, even the Managing Director, has a set desk or office), and employees are actually encouraged to work in locations other than the office. Earlier this year we had Summer’s Day Out and tomorrow, this is really being highlighted again. This time around though, Microsoft is calling it Spring Day Out, and it is global. A day where the whole of Microsoft is being encouraged to work anywhere but the office and still get things done.
I understand that this is not possible for all types of work and I am part of a tech company which provides the tools and devices to make this happen. But when most people have a smart phone, a lap top and a tablet is there really a need to be in the same place, all day, everyday to do a job that is rapidly changing and evolving? As Pip Marlow, MD Microsoft Australia, eloquently sums up ‘for some reason, so many Australian managers just don’t get the basic fact that work is something you do, not a place you go; people need to be accountable for outcomes, not for time served; 9 to 5 is a song, not a lifestyle’. Hear, hear Pip!
So tomorrow, as part of Spring Day Out, I am planning  on starting the day early (while Mexico is still online) at Little Mule with good coffee & wifi, then head to an Australian customers office, get in a few hours at The Hub Melbourne coworking space, then finish up at my stand up desk at home so I can take some business calls while I stretch. Honestly – I find it makes me so much more productive 🙂
Where are you working from tomorrow?

100% Adoption = Invisibility

Adoption is something that we do with purpose and acknowledgement. We adopt a new technology, device, way of being. As something sweeps through the adoption curve there are the innovators, the early adopters, the majority and the laggards. Initially you notice the physical signs of adoption – the iPads, the bikram yoga studios, the free wifi signs, the quinoa on the menu. But as these trends gain momentum we not only adopt but also adapt. We become less aware of these physical signs of disruption as they become part of our norm.

As something increasingly becomes more visible in our lives it simultaneously becomes invisible.

Take the internet for example. With smart phones, the accessibility of wifi networks and advertising calls to action we are constantly surrounded by and reminded of the internet hundreds of times a day. The connection to the internet itself however, is almost invisible. Previously we accessed a dial up connection from the home or office by a desk top computer. Now you turn on your phone, iPad, or laptop and are immediately online without even being made aware of the necessity to connect. The internet is just there. Invisible.

Everyday I work with people that are rolling out Yammer across their organisation. They are building it’s visibility across departments as the place for communication and collaboration. The concept of an enterprise social network is powering through the adoption curve. It is currently disruptive and visible. But once it reaches the point of full adoption and it becomes the place of familiarity that people go to get work done, like other things that reach saturation, it will become invisible. The platform itself dissolves into the background and it is the conversations, the content and the people that are the central focal point and become visible. People forget they are using an enterprise social network, they are just working in a collaborative space and better connected to their colleagues than ever before.

If full adoption equals invisibility how does a technology or product continue to be disruptive once it has reached 100% adoption?

They continue to innovate and evolve. Yammer for example, releases on a weekly development schedule. They push people to adopt and adapt. They don’t sit back, relax and bask in the invisibility.They keep pushing the boundaries. You remain invisible for too long and you become irrelevant.


Yammer on Tour Melbourne

A fantastic event held at Crown on Thursday 29th March.

The afternoon kicked off with a keynote presentation from Simon Terry, CEO, HICAPS at NAB. He showed screen grabs of their internal NAB Yammer network, and the slides he chose to share were actually crowdsourced on Yammer itself. Awesomely admirable. A well stocked panel discussion followed including Pete Williams, CEO Deloitte Digital, Bernie Sheehan, Digital Skills Development Manager at the ABC, and Annabel Rees, Head of People, OAMPS. The best way to sum it up was with sharing the live discussion that occurred during the event.

So this was Yammer on Tour Melbourne…

  1. Share

    Stop, Yammer time! #yamtour
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 00:25:54
  2. Share

    #yamtour @yammer Yammer on tour in Melbourne is teaching me a lot
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 01:10:45
  3. Share
    Breaking down the hierarchy – post your change on Yammer and start the conversation #yamtour
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 00:53:56
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    1 Like the way @yammer facilitates connections & collabn & can help tap into wealth of org or group knowledge. #yamtour (MT @davidahood)
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 00:59:56
  5. Share

    Great demo by @rosshill at melb #yamtour
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 01:00:59
  6. Share

    Some great insights from Simon Terry from @NAB on the world of @yammer in the bank. #yamtour
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 01:05:19
  7. Share
    “there’s no PR or comms spin happening in our Yammer network…people are engaged because they want to be” Simon Terry, NAB #yamtour
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 01:18:11
  8. Share

    Great event by Yammer. Makes me all excited this innovation/collaboration stuff… #yamtour
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 02:22:07
  9. Share
    Terrific and innovative uses of Yammer being shared by the #yamtour panel. Deloitte Digital built their own Foursquare with the #yammer API
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 01:38:13
  10. Share
    RT @tloh Take a large complex org and give them one place where they can all connect – on @yammer #yamtour #collaboration #staffengagement
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 01:21:01
  11. Share
    Knowledge management in @yammer means getting access to the knowledge inside all our heads, says @rexster at #yamtour
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 01:36:19
  12. Share
    “No “yammer nightmare” in over 4 years as network is “self moderating” via @bernie_sheehan at #abc #yamtour
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 01:42:05
  13. Share

    The #yamtour Twitter control tower feat @bryonycole & @sarfos
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 01:43:37
  14. Share
    Yammer is a great training ground for external social media says @bernie_sheehan from ABC #yamtour
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 01:47:37
  15. Share
    #yamtour love that we are all using twitter to have our own #yamjam 🙂
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 01:48:20
  16. Share
    “For overall ESN growth, focus on incorporating #Yammer in all training programs”. @bernie_sheehan #yamtour
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 01:48:24
  17. Share
    “@Yammer: What is Yammer? “It’s like a room full of mentors” Says Simon Terry of NAB #yamtour” #yam
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 01:56:34
  18. Share
    Comms with #abc team using a @yammer group led to 30% less email and exemplary performance. Great insight from @Bernie_sheehan #yamtour
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 02:00:14
  19. Share

    RT @BrianMurray333: Samezies before the #yamtour with @matthewpartovi and @lukemccormack
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 03:53:09
  20. Share
    RT @Yammer: Yammer now has over 4 million users in over 150 countries and 20 languages. #yamtour
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 07:46:24
  21. Share
    Thanks Aussie @yammer crew for hosting such an excellent afternoon. Great tips for use & strategy for implementation. V practical. #yamtour
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 04:08:04
  22. Share

    RT @sarfos: Oops with pic 🙂 RT @sarfos: Time for a YamJuice post-Melb #yamtour with @rosshill @sarahmoran @juleshughan
    Thu, Mar 29 2012 16:55:39
  23. Share

    overview text analytics #yamtour Melbourne
    Fri, Mar 30 2012 03:40:43

Love what you do.

To be able to love the work you do, and the people that you do it with is rare and special. I have been lucky enough to go from one great organisation which is changing peoples lives, to another great organisation which is also dramatically impacting millions of people, just in a very different way. I have just spent the last week over in San Francisco at the Yammer head office. The Enterprise Social Network that is changing the face of businesses. They are bringing together some of the sharpest minds in the world and creating a powerful tool in a very unique manner. And people genuinely love what they do.  It is something fun, exciting and challenging to be part of.

An article published online this week showed photos of an after hours tour inside the Yammer head office and a video of the infamous deployment routine that happens every Friday night – something which depicts and defines the Yammer culture. Innovative, efficient and memorable.

Out of longstanding tradition based on superstition, the team blasts Europe’s “The Final Countdown” over the stereo for the entire deployment process. As the code base has grown, deploys have taken longer — they can last up to an hour. So they’ve created a “Final Countdown” playlist with versions in every imaginable language, remix, and cover.