Employers today are faced with recruiting talent in a highly competitive, tightening job market, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In this candidate’s market, it comes as no surprise that companies across industries are altering the way they offer flexible working arrangements to cater to a digitally-driven Millennial and Gen Z workforce.
Recent research shows that over the last decade, remote work has surged by 91%, meaning it’s more than just working parents taking advantage of this added benefit. Thanks to technology, an office is no longer a strict requirement to running a business. Employees are free to be scattered among time-zones, however, this means added pressure on project managers, who must adapt quickly to support teams in the evolving workplace – physical and digital alike.
The need for greater flexibility has made the workforce dependent and highly-attached to a plethora of communication channels, which almost stunts any team’s ability to be efficient and productive. The issue is that each of these channels carry their own versions of information, requiring real-time updates to keep up with the fast pace of a project.
This can become extremely difficult to manage, and as a result teams may find themselves working based on outdated information and requirements, or prioritizing tasks differently, which ultimately derails a project or causes unnecessary delays.
Private channels of communication – while great for quick check-in’s or throwing ideas around when a meeting isn’t warranted – only add to the problem. When accurate information isn’t readily available, team members may resort to one-on-one emails, private messages, and face-to-face meetings in the moment, which only deepens the issue of information fragmentation and internal misalignment.
The digital workforce is in desperate need of a central and accessible space for all the information required to make day-to-day business decisions. In information systems design and theory, this is widely known as a single source of truth (SSOT) platform. The benefits of a SSOT is that it has the unique ability to break down information silos by creating a central source for files, due dates, and status updates live and accessible to all.
On the productivity front, this means a reduction in time spent on admin, prep work and meetings, as well as better work-flows, stronger accountability and more transparency throughout the life of a project. Instead of working in secluded spaces like email and chat, project information can be centralized meaning that the whole team can easily see what they should be working on, with what information, and why. The big picture is painted, while giving teams the tools to work on their daily tasks and prioritization.
Alignment is necessary on an organizational-level just as much as it is on a team-level. Long-term goals are what fuel big decisions, while these big decisions drive all the other decisions an employee has to make within a company. A SSOT helps track the direction the company is planning to take by centralizing strategy and planning — not just individual projects — and shares it with the people that are going to help you get there. Therefore, the long-term success of a company and its future projects is dictated by the way by an organization-wide alignment, which can only be done if everyone has access to the same information, in a central place, in real-time.
Before migrating to an SSOT platform, a commitment to this strategy needs to be felt across an organization, otherwise the information within becomes unreliable. A holistic implementation strategy with clear, attainable goals is necessary to set an organization and its team’s up for continued success as the workplace evolves with the needs of a dynamic workforce.
Peter Coppinger is the CEO and co-founder of Teamwork, a work management platform for enterprise teams.