Recently I joined a conversation about the role of cameras in our work meetings with Rebecca Jackson, Benjamin Elias and Kerrie Hawkins for Regarding 365. This is a short conversation with some great insights on why cameras are not necessarily an ‘always on’ proposition in our work meetings.
A key theme of this conversation is make meeting effectiveness a discussion for each meeting and work ongoing. For those who have followed this blog for a while, this is a major theme of my work. How people work effectively varies for a variety of reasons from the people, to the work, and to the circumstances.
The temptation to require particular patterns of work comes from our history of manufacturing as a model of work. Many organisations have not moved far from procedures and process dictating how everything should be done, even if the work of these organisations are increasingly knowledge work.. You can’t mandate people must use internal social media. It needs to be a decision of employees to choose how they connect, share, solve and innovate. You can’t mandate the best way for people to work. People need to make choices that work best for each team and each circumstance.
The cost of mandating ‘best practices’ is that you lose engagement of those for whom the mandated approach doesn’t work well, whether that is cameras on, meetings all day, agile practices, social tools or other processes. The mandate also reduces the opportunity for employees to make their work more productive for them and their colleagues. Arguing with a mandate is not worth the effort for many and you will lose their views and input.
The most effective workplaces are ones where employees are engaged. That also means they are the work places where employees are engaged in a continuous discussion about the better ways to deliver their work. Whether it is the use of cameras or another work practice you can start these discussions in your workplace by asking employees to share their views, experiment with different approaches and debate the best ways to manage work.
We have much more change and disruption to come in our work. We should look forward to the conversations about work that will help us all manage that change and improve effectiveness as we do so.