Video Conferencing Company Fuze Buys LiveMinutes, Raises $20M To Expand Into Team Collaboration

San Francisco-based video conferencing company Fuze is expanding its platform with the acquisition of an online team collaboration platform, LiveMinutes.


With the addition, Fuze is no longer focused only on online meetings, but is now also rolling out a new product calledFuze Spaces which allows colleagues to chat, share and comment on files, organize projects, and more via a web-based dashboard.

Source: techcrunch.com

Progressive workplace strategies (like remote work and distributed workforces) have provided opportunities for companies like Fuze to develop innovative, virtual solutions to the challenges that naturally manifest while working with off-site colleagues or clients.

Fuze’s new acquisition of LiveMinutes will allow them to add to their meeting service both document and screen sharing capabilities as well.  While many organizations are switching to physical collaborative environments, Fuze is ensuring virtual collaboration is also possible.

Stegmeier Consulting Group has seen clients first-hand struggle with implementing remote work strategies.  Often times the roadblocks that spring up come in the form of inadequate technological tools to handle the transition, resistance of employees to new ways of work, and middle-managers who are convinced they need to see and be within a close proximity of those they are responsible for.

On the technology side, Fuze certainly sounds like they are well experienced and positioned to provide clients with excellent collaborative software.  For help on the people side, contact Stegmeier Consulting Group.  Our consultants are familar with the resistance that comes naturally with change, and can provide a variety of services to engage them and help alleviate their concerns.

Stegmeier Consulting Group can assist with a wide range of challenges involved in implementing a workplace change initiative.  Contact us to find out how our services can help your organization.

 
https://stegmeierconsulting.com/contact/

Phone: 440-846-1410

Changing the way organizations manage workplace change

 

Collaborating Online Is Sometimes Better than Face-to-Face

If you’re embracing online collaboration as a necessary evil — the only way to work with an increasingly dispersed team of global or remote workers, for example — then you’re doing it wrong. Online collaboration is not a second-best substitute for face-to-face work: It’s a complement with its own perks and benefits.

Source: hbr.org

It’s interesting for our team at Stegmeier Consulting Group to see so many workplace change initiatives boil down to organizations attempting to enhance the communication abilities of their employees.  The open office environment, for example, seeks to encourage collaboration and “spontaneous interactions.”  Office restacks (or redesigns) often will seek to strategically relocate certain departments within a close proximity of one another in order for them to work closer together and streamline business processes.  With a growing trend focused on improving teamwork and collaboration, instituting telecommuting programs that allow for work to be completed off-site may seem counterintuitive. 

In truth, teleworking does not need to be viewed as a roadblock to refining an organization’s communication capabilities.  Instead, it can be looked upon as an opportunity.  As this article points out, one can consider the assemblage of a virtual team for instance.  Imagine an employee at location A working more regularly online with colleagues located at locations B, C, and D.  The intermixing of skill sets of employees who may otherwise never meet is a perfect chance to breed inspiration and new ideas.  And depending on where your employees are located, it’s feasible to think your organization’s projects are being worked on and passed along 24/7.    

At Stegmeier, we recognize that remote workers collaborate differently and that this shift in work-styles can be scary for many managers.  Similarly, many senior leaders may feel remote work is a necessary evil, in order to corral heightened real estate costs, but are concerned of its effects on communication, productivity, and corporate culture.  If either of these scenarios describes your organization, there are a number of ways we can help ready your workforce.  We encourage you to visit our website to learn more about our services and the clients we have helped in the past.

Stegmeier Consulting Group can assist with a wide range of challenges involved in implementing a workplace change initiative.  Contact us to find out how our services can help your organization.

https://stegmeierconsulting.com/contact/

Phone: 440-846-1410

Changing the way organizations manage workplace change


Build the Right Virtual Team – Management Tip of the Day

Virtual teams are hard to get right. If you want to effectively lead and manage one, start by assembling the right team. You won’t get anywhere without hiring and developing people suited to virtual teamwork, putting them into the right-sized groups, and dividing the labor appropriately. When building a team, conduct behavioral interviews and personality tests to screen for qualities like good communication skills, high emotional intelligence, an ability to work independently, strong resilience to recover from snafus, and sensitivity to other cultures.

Source: legacy.hbr.org

Virtual teams are employees that work in conjunction with one another despite being located in different areas.  Sometimes these individuals are spread out across different time zones and even in different countries!  Because of this, teams must understandably be formed with care to ensure a cohesiveness can exist and the team can thrive.  

This article offers up some great suggestions on how to assemble an all-star virtual team.  Employee engagement is a great first step.  This article recommends getting to know your people and conducting assessments to better understand their styles of work, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses.  Once a profile of the employee’s attributes is formed, the organization can plan on how to integrate that person’s strengths with the rest of the team, and shore up through training any identified areas that are lacking.

At Stegmeier Consulting Group, we’re willing to bet that the concept of virtual teams isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. With technological advancements that are consistently improving online collaboration, as well as increasing costs of travel and corporate office space, organizations will quickly realize the advantages of enabling employees to work virtually (if they don’t already.)

If your organization is interested in learning more about virtual teams and remote work, contact Stegmeier Consulting Group.  We’ll help you analyze how ready your workforce is for a change to a new style of work and can conduct the training to ensure your employees are prepared to hit the ground running.

Stegmeier Consulting Group can assist with a wide range of challenges involved in implementing a workplace change initiative.  Contact us to find out how our services can help your organization.

https://stegmeierconsulting.com/contact/

Phone: 440-846-1410

Changing the way organizations manage workplace change


Work-from-homers outdo deskbound colleagues in major experiment

Do work-from-home (WFH) policies encourage employees to “shirk from home” or are they an essential way to make our modern work lives actually work?

To answer the question systematically and scientifically, we and two of our students ran an experiment with Ctrip, China’s largest travel agent. Ctrip wanted to test a WFH policy both to reduce office costs and to reduce the firm’s high annual rate of staff turnover (50%). Ctrip management was concerned, however, that allowing employees to work from home could have a negative impact on their performance, so they wanted to test the policy before rolling it out to the entire company.

Source: www.brw.com.au

Rolling out a work from home policy – even a temporary, experimental one – can feel like a gigantic leap of faith for organizations.  In the case of the travel company Ctrip, their management is certainly glad they took the time and put in the effort to conduct this workplace study.

The methodology behind creating and comparing balanced test and control groups in this experiment seems sound.  To further emphasize the validity of the test, however, we at Stegmeier Consulting Group would have recommended testing the same employees over time at home and in the office.  When doing productivity studies (of teleworkers or of people in a new alternative work environment) you really need to see how the people affected improve or decline in effectiveness.  This removes varying employee attributes and competencies from the equation and avoids any distortions that may arise when working with two separate  groups of people!  Still, we applaud the study and believe it is a great point of reference for other organizations considering implementing a remote work policy.

Many of our clients have opted to do some workplace experimenting of their own by selecting a “pilot group” to test out a new office layout or a telework policy. Facilitating these pilot groups and helping organizations assess their change readiness is just a small sample of the services we offer at Stegmeier.

Stegmeier Consulting Group can assist with a wide range of challenges involved in implementing a workplace change initiative.  Contact us to find out how our services can help your organization.

https://stegmeierconsulting.com/contact/

Phone: 440-846-1410

Changing the way organizations manage workplace change

How Flex Work is Bad for Work-Life Balance

No more commute. No more awkward elevator rides. No more watching the clock tick slowly toward quitting time. And, best of all, flex work means better work-life balance.

 

Except only it’s not as easy as it sounds. Flexible work arrangements aren’t an automatic fix for work-life fit. 

Source: workplace.care.com

Often times we here at SCG come across articles that cover the benefits of working from home or that provide helpful tips for the remote worker (you may have seen Stegmeier Consulting Group post articles in the past such as 9 Things Successful People Do When Working From Home, for example).

The uniqueness of this piece lies in the fact that it plays devil’s advocate and cautions readers to think twice before simply waltzing into a work from home setup.  The risks and pitfalls that are inherent with a telework program do exist, and it is important to be aware of these issues whether you are a veteran of the remote working environment, or someone that is newly transitioning out of working 9-5 at the office.

Our company has significant experience working with organizations that are instituting new, or expanding current telework programs.  We recommend (and assist with) the development of remote work policies that set expectations for everyone involved with teleworkers, including their coworkers and superiors.  We caution organizations not to look at remote workers as employees that should labor around the clock simply because of their convenient access to their home office.  While seemingly an efficient solution to address problems  that arise at various times throughout the day (or night), over-dependence on teleworkers can contribute to their inability to separate work-time from personal time, which can lead to employee burnout.

Telework does offer the best of both worlds:  the potential for increased productivity and employee work-life balance. However, there is no magic switch to flip to make the strategy work. Like most successful ventures in the business world, a teleworking initiative must be thoroughly planned and properly implemented.

Stegmeier Consulting Group can assist with a wide range of challenges involved in implementing a workplace change initiative.  Contact us to find out how our services can help your organization.


https://stegmeierconsulting.com/contact/

Phone: 440-846-1410

Changing the way organizations manage workplace change


The Benefits of Remote Working

Raise your hand if you would love to wake up and walk 10 feet and arrive at work! Well this is exactly what I do every morning. My office is located 10ft from my bed. It’s a blessing and a curse. N…

Source: www.business2community.com

It is incredible (and refreshing) to see that 10% of the workforce is already working from home according to the Reuters statistic referenced in this article.  Incredible because the concept of punching the clock day in and day out at the office was the normal work environment for so long.  Refreshing because the statistic also shows employers are coming around to appropriately utilizing the technology they have  to allow employees the flexibility that has become so desired in the workforce today.

Corporations that have yet to embrace a telework policy for employees may be hesitant for a variety of reasons, including the cons that Dr. Thomas-Rodgers brings to light in her article.  Partnering with Stegmeier Consulting Group however can help alleviate those concerns.  Your organization does not have to be on its own when assessing which employees fit the new remote work approach, developing remote work policies, or devising and holding training sessions for employees and management alike.  Our company has over 18 years of experience assisting businesses with workplace change initiatives.  Contact us to see how we can put that experience to work for you.

Stegmeier Consulting Group can assist with a wide range of challenges involved in implementing a workplace change initiative.  Contact us to find out how our services can help your organization.


https://stegmeierconsulting.com/contact/

Phone: 440-846-1410

Changing the way organizations manage workplace change

21 Tools That Will Help Your Remote Team Work Better Together

Working as a remote team can be difficult, but doesn’t have to be. Here at The Next Web, much of our team is remote.

We have staff in the UK, India, The Netherlands, USA and New Zealand all working together across time zones successfully, even though the time differences can be confusing sometimes.

Here’s a handful of great tools for working with remote teams…

Source: thenextweb.com

A common concern amongst organizations that are focused on increasing opportunities for remote workers is how will employees be able to effectively communicate and collaborate with off-site individuals.  Often times these employees can be a great distance from the home office or from one another.  Fortunately, technology has given us the ability to bring everyone closer, at least in a virtual sense.

This article discusses several tools that can make working on or managing a remote team easier and more convenient for all involved.  Applications to help everyone keep track of time zones ensures meetings can take place or communications can be sent at optimal points throughout a day.  Project management programs can give a remote team an instant snapshot of where everyone stands on a job.  And of course, video chat capabilities provide the sense of sitting at the same table as a coworker as opposed to miles away.

At Stegmeier Consulting Group, we have seen the apprehension that comes with instituting teleworking programs.  Our consultants have successfully guided organizations through these change initiatives, with employees and managers benefiting from increased morale and productivity as a result of SCG’s guidance.  Don’t be deterred by the challenge of implementing new ways of working — we can help.

Stegmeier Consulting Group can assist with a wide range of challenges involved in implementing a workplace change initiative.  Contact us to find out how our services can help your organization.


https://stegmeierconsulting.com/contact/

Phone: 440-846-1410

Changing the way organizations manage workplace change

RingCentral Predicts How the Cloud Will Change the Workplace in 2015 | CloudWedge

Cloud computing has forever changed the way we access information and perform business tasks. The cloud has saved us time and money, and made it possible f

Source: www.cloudwedge.com

The trends we see in increased remote and mobile work do not appear to be slowing down as we get ready to jump into 2015.  As the author of this article points out, next year will be an enormous year for the evolving workplace, with mobile device usage increasing and the use of virtual meetings “advancing ten-fold.”

Technological advancements (such as the increasing prevalence of SaaS [software as a service] as more companies opt more commonly for cloud based solutions) allow us to communicate and collaborate with one another no matter what time it is, or where in the world we are located.  Is your organization poised to take advantage of opportunities when they arise?  Or is your company still bound by a rapidly aging concept that work is only done “at work”, during “business hours”?

Stegmeier Consulting Group can help your business transition to a new way of thinking about mobile and remote work.  Partnering with us will allow you to take advantage of the technologies that exist and prepare your employees to be as dynamic as they can be.

Stegmeier Consulting Group can assist with a wide range of challenges involved in implementing a workplace change initiative.  Contact us to find out how our services can help your organization.


https://stegmeierconsulting.com/contact/

Phone: 440-846-1410

Changing the way organizations manage workplace change

7 Tips for Improving Your Remote Meetings

The way teams work and collaborate is changing. Consulting, remote workforces and outsourcing are all on the rise. Even if you operate a team that is technically based in the same physical office, it’s becoming more and more common that your clients prefer to communicate in a virtual manner instead of in person due to time constraints.

One of the biggest issues that has surfaced around remote work is how to handle meetings. How do you communicate effectively when the meeting is with teams that are several hundreds or thousands of miles away instead of face-to-face in a conference room? How do you ensure that your employees are a part of the meeting, instead of just following directions?

Source: www.businessinsider.com

The transition to meeting remotely can be difficult for some employees. These are some basic tips that can help make the most of remote meetings. Remote working solutions are not one-size-fits-all. It’s important to test different approaches and see what is the best fit for your team. 

Stegmeier Consulting Group can assist with a wide range of challenges involved in implementing a workplace change initiative.  Contact us to find out how our services can help your organization.


https://stegmeierconsulting.com/contact/

Phone: 440-846-1410

Changing the way organizations manage workplace change

Telework Week Saved Feds 14 Million Miles, $13 Million

Mobile Work Exchange and the Office of Personnel Management on Thursday announced the impact more than 163,000 employees worldwide had by teleworking one week in March.

This year’s Telework Week, which ran March 3-7, drew 163,973 pledges, more than four times the 2011 number. The average Telework Week participant teleworked two days during the week, avoided a 45-mile round-trip commute into the office and saved 4.5 hours and $90 in commuting costs for the week.

Source: www.nextgov.com

We recommend that clients pilot a telecommuting program before they commit to a long-term program. Every business is different and flexible work arrangements should reflect that. Setting aside a week to test remote operations can also help test business continuity before the next winter storm or other natural hazard.

Stegmeier Consulting Group can assist with a wide range of challenges involved in implementing a workplace change initiative.  Contact us to find out how our services can help your organization.


https://stegmeierconsulting.com/contact/

Phone: 440-846-1410

Changing the way organizations manage workplace change