Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. 🙂
Today on Tuesday Two.Oh! we’ll be talking about something I wish I had known about when I was a manger. One of the first things I did was institute a blog in order to facilitate communication across hours, since the departments I managed spanned from 7:30 in the morning until 2am the following morning. We needed to be able to post documents and talk when physical meeting was not an option.
Todays topic would have facilitated that quite nicely. In the vein of Twitter, let’s take a look at Co-Op.
From the site: “Co-op makes it easy to stay connected with your co-workers without disrupting them. Your team can use it to post updates, ask questions, share links, and track time. Quickly share your daily agenda with your co-workers. Quickly scan your co-workers’ agendas. Then cancel your daily status meetings! As each team member updates status and tracks time, Co-op automatically records the transcript. You can go back in time to see what your team has accomplished each day.”
Signing up for Co-Op is extremely easy and fast. They will send you a confirmation email immediately, and once you have approved your account you’re in. The first thing you’re asked to do is either create a network or join one.
The set up for your network is also quite easy. Pick a name, invite members, and choose a time zone, and you’re virtually done.
Once you have finished these basic functions, your workplace social network has been set up. You will be looking at a screen similar to Twitter or any other instant messaging service you may have used before. You can update your status to let the rest of your coworkers know what you’re doing.
On the sidebar, each member of their team can type in their daily agenda or send a group announcement. The sidebar also displays everyone elses online status.
Take a look at the example provided by Co-Op:
Updating your profile is simple, but I also found it frustrating. Co-Op seems to have strict limits as to the size of picture you can use, so make sure it’s 200×200 pixels before you upload it.
The next few screen shots I am going to walk you through are from the site and show a more populated social network.
The most prominent feature of Co-Op is the “Work Stream.” Here you will see the updates of all of your cowokers in one “stream,” similar to what you would find on your Twitter stream.
Co-Op would also like that the stream be used socially, where workers should feel free to post links or videos that are not work related. They call this feature the “Water Cooler.” Also, Co-Op includes time stamps so that you can see when people are posting their updates.
And that’s it to set up a social network for your coworkers on Co-Op. It was so easy and fast, I was really impressed.
There are some tings that this site made me think about, and the main was was that terrifying word: MICRO-MANAGER! Constant updates by your coworkers or employees might lead a manger to become more controlling in their subordinates professional lives. That said, it might also boost a sense of competition which will lead to increased productivity.
When I did manage a small department, knowing what my employees were doing was key to our operation. At the time the private blog sufficed, but I can see the potential for an application like Co-Op. It’s possible this site could be used between professionals in a group, who do not necessarily work for the same institution. If there is a common project that has to be worked on, then having constant updates from the participants can’t be a bad thing.
If I were to come into another department as a manager now, I would likely try something like this. As with anything, though, I worry about overload and the old mantra of “yet another site” people have to look at. But if you make something a vital piece of your work flow, it could be beneficial.
As always, your thoughts are welcome.