Remote Workers, Collaboration Apps and Culture

In a recent post, Master the Art of Working Remotely, Gina Trapani, Harvard Business Blogger, provides 4 simple tips for remote workers:

  1. Sharpen your email skills.
  2. Be “present” via instant messenger or Web-based chat.
  3. Collaborate online with the tools that best fit your client and project.
  4. Set up regular voice or video chat check-ins.

The common denominator in Gina’s tips is “Collaboration.”

We’re living in a world that offers an amazing array of tools and applications to support collaboration with fellow employees, customers and partners.

I’m keenly aware of the need for collaboration, particularly when it comes to on-boarding and embracing new employees.    In recent years, most of our employee growth has not occurred at our corporate headquarters where we have several hundred employees.  Most of our growth in resources is remote employees typically working from home offices or are on site with clients.

We’re doing our best at creating a company environment that allows all our employees, remote and local, to be “part of the team” and part of the fantastic culture that has fueled our growth.  Investment in collaboration technology has played a role in creating what our CEO, Jim Kavanaugh, calls a “culture of high performance teamwork.”

I thought about all of the tools that we use internally for collaboration and it starts to add up:

  • Exchange – email
  • Cisco Unified Communications – voice calls, presence, chat, video
  • Smartphones – email, web browsing, texting
  • Skype – business to business chat
  • WebEx & MeetingPlace – video and teleconferencing
  • SharePoint – document sharing & project management
  • WebEx Connect – document sharing and general collaboration
  • / Content – securing sharing documents with partners & customers
  • Telepresence – high-definition video conferencing (This is the latest addition to our collaboration applications and it’s already making a significant impact on our weekly sales meetings, at left, and job interviewing process)
  • Cisco Partner Space – workspace for partner & customer collaboration
  • WordPress – blogging (I had to plug my blog!)

We’re also working on  a few more collaborative projects: facebook, twitter, youtube channels and we will be adding a company blog to  We’re even piloting a very interesting pre-release app. from Cisco that will supercharge our collaboration efforts–more on that later.

I may have even missed a few but that’s still quite a list.  It’s great to see how our investments in collaboration apps should allow our remote workers to more easily implement Gina’s practical tips.

I’ll be providing updates on specific examples on our use of collaborative applications in future postings.


5 responses to “Remote Workers, Collaboration Apps and Culture

  1. The VAR Guy speaks to Richard McCleod on Telepresence and my comments on our use….

  2. Pingback: Remote Workers, Collaboration Apps and Culture « Perspectives on Technology & Business » 4give

  3. You write about the enabling technology for collaboration, but collaboration is not technology. It is a culture, a set of skills, an attitude enabled by business processes and policies as well as technology. Does Cisco embrace a holistic view of what it truly takes to be collaborative? Does Cisco augment technology with collaborative capability?

    • Norma, I agree with you. Collaboration is not technology. I don’t work for Cisco so I cannot speak directly about their internal collaborative abilities. As a partner, I believe Cisco embraces the use of enabling technologies like WebEx & Telepresence to create an environment that fosters collaboration and, more importantly, fosters true partnership.

      At WWT, I believe it’s an on-going process in creating a collaborative environment. Our management team, lead by Jim Kavanaugh, has created coaching tools and defined company goals that draw attention to teamwork & collaboration.

      Thanks for viewing my blog and your comments. Best Regards, Bob

  4. Pingback: We’re in the Cloud and We Didn’t Even Know it! « Perspectives on Technology & Business

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