Does Emily Post Have a Place in the Collaborative Enterprise?

Ann All

Forget interoperability, ease-of-use and security concerns. Bad manners are holding back the widespread adoption of collaborative technologies.


An example cited in a recent article in The Register is assuming that, because a colleague's calendar shows blocks of uncommitted time, he or she is free to meet with you.


A big part of the problem, says research firm the Leading Edge Forum, is that users choose tools such as instant messaging instinctively, rather than consciously. An LEF analyst predicts the issue will only worsen with new versions of Microsoft Office and Sharepoint that feature enhanced collaboration capabilities.


Experts tout "presence," the ability to sense whether a warm body is currently connected to a client, as the next frontier for collaboration tools like IM. But this begs the question: Do we really want to be that connected, and thus theoretically available, all the time?


Each generation of tools that promise to free our time ultimately seems to end up monopolizing it. Cell phones, check. E-mail, yep. Calendaring applications, amen. Instant messaging, oh yeah.


You can blame yourself and your poor time management skills. Or you can blame your inconsiderate colleagues. Most often, as fellow IT Business Edge blogger Ken-Hardin recently found, it's a bit of both.


Updating communications policies with some common-sense rules may help. An LEF PowerPoint presentation (linked to in The Register article) provides a starting point. Coming across a little like an edgy Emily Post, it offers a set of suggestions for several collaborative technologies: calendaring, e-mail, messaging, sharing file spaces and audio and video conferencing.


One of our favorites -- which The Register liked as well: To appear natural in a videoconferencing environment, you must practice "unnatural acts" (i.e., looking directly into a camera).

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Apr 26, 2007 2:14 AM Rita Bowman Rita Bowman  says:
Yes, good manners are needed more than ever. Perhaps collaborative technologies will restore a sense of humanity. The more people are connected the better they best behave. It could make a warm body fell present, and also expose the cold inconsiderat bodies that reside in our midst, for what they really are. It could be a good tool for upper management to find and correct perpetrators of the growing abusive behavior management style. Cooperative people who show a healthy respect to others is a productivity tool that has been neglected for too long. Reply

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