As technology has increasingly created a number of self-organizing online or real communities, companies are also experimenting with cultural changes having a common thread of decentralization. For example, anonymous surveys, voting systems for both customers and internal employees, organic management, and peer-based recognition systems are becoming more commonly used. Firms like Burning Man, Second Life, and Zappos are exploring and using non-traditional techniques to structure their organization and develop their people. What are these alternative strategies and why are companies using them? What’s worked and what hasn’t? We’ll show you specific ways to start experimenting with decentralization at your company, with questions and discussion amongst a diverse group of experienced panelists.
The benefits of working in a distributed work environment are many. No overhead for office real estate, no employee commutes, flexible work hours, the ability to hire talent where it resides. But what are the pain points? Can working in a distributed workplace be done successfully? Workplaces often provide camaraderie; how do you get that when you’re working in isolation? How do you measure productivity when you can’t see what employees are working on? How do you ensure your employer recognizes your contributions? Since our start in August 2005, Automattic, best known for its work on WordPress.com, has employed people from all over the world. We don’t have formal offices; instead we choose to hire the most talented people to work from where they’re already located. What lessons have we learned? What should be avoided?
by Elizabeth Gibson and Lin Howe
How do you help your geographically dispersed and diverse melting pot organization become a more effective and cohesive team with a shared sense of purpose? How do you simulate ‘around the water cooler” type conversations when you are not in the same location or time zone? What works, and what doesn’t work? We will share five easy ways to build synergy and camaraderie and foster inclusion among remote teammates through highly creative, visual, and interactive concepts and practices. We also want to encourage conversation and share stories about other organizational attempts to achieve solidarity, diversity, and inclusion in fun and compelling ways.
9th–13th March 2012