In Why Businesses Don’t Collaborate, Stewart Mader and Scott Abel ask 523 workers about their information sharing habits. In reading through the responses and sample comments, it becomes obvious that there are two technologies that limit workplace collaboration – e-mail & meetings. Both can do certain tasks well but these “technologies” have become overused and abused.
Most of us who work with social media already know that e-mail can be replaced by more appropriate tools such as wikis, instant messaging, blogs or micro-blogs for a number of tasks. Also, we free-agents know only too well how much time we’ve saved by being outside an organization and not having to attend useless meetings [I would say that by avoiding meetings & commuting, I gain 2-3 hours of productivity per day].
Some highlights from Why Businesses Don’t Collaborate (PDF):
The comments indicate that people consider email a significant time management issue, and the important information often gets lost in the volume of email.
… people … recognize that trying to conduct group collaboration and revision by email is not optimal.
75% of respondents … know that a wiki can be used for documents that require group input …
Only 6% regularly request changes to a meeting agenda.
A simple strategy to give workers some time back would be to require that all meetings have agendas (on a wiki) with accompanying minutes. Then take one task that is currently done by e-mail (request for input) and replace it with a wiki, blog or other more suitable medium. These are just two small steps that could save a lot of time and frustration.