E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

Why Small Companies Benefit from the Virtual WorkPlace (And Their Adoption of Social Software)

A few days ago Melanie Turek, over at CollaborationLoop, created an article that I thought was a good read since it provided some really good and sound advice to small businesses as to how they can adopt some sort of a virtual workplace in order to conduct business in perhaps a much more effective and efficient way. The article itself is titled Why Small Companies Benefit from Virtual WorkPlace and it is certainly a worth while read specially for those small businesses where a good part of their workforce may be remote employees or people working while on the road. I know that in most cases most of us always seem to be thinking about large corporations or enterprises, so it is actually quite a refreshing read to see things from other perspectives and think that there are other businesses out there trying to make money while they may not be that large after all. Still they, too, could enjoy the advantages of a virtual workplace.

And this is exactly what Melanie has managed to write about, quite successfully in my opinion, because she is listing a number of different good reasons as to why small businesses should consider having a virtual workplace. Here is the list of reasons:

  • "Agility
  • Collegiality
  • Technology
  • Growth"

While I was reading through the article I couldn’t help thinking how beneficial it would be for a small business that, while trying to establish a virtual workplace, they would be thinking about trying to put together a number of the different social software tools currently available out there to everyone who may want to explore them further. Small businesses are probably better positioned to indeed try out new tools for that virtual workplace and since Technology is one of those reasons Melanie talks about they may as well get exposed to a number of those different Web 2.0 tools as it would help them get a taste of the latest technology trends available out there and at the same time they would have a much better platform to evoke a successful collaborative environment as we have been able to see all over the place for the last few months.

We all know how beneficial it is the role of social software tools for larger corporations where those tools allow them to become smaller, to reach out to larger audiences and to get knowledge workers share their knowledge and collaborate with others much more easily than ever before. So imagine then when it is those small businesses the ones testing out those tools. There are great chances that they would be making those same businesses even much much smaller. They would become much more efficient in handling, processing and sharing knowledge with others. Their use of wikis, weblogs, social bookmarks, RSS, podcasts, tagging, etc. etc. is certainly going to get more people much more participative in that virtual workplace and initially something that started just as a test of different technologies may end up on becoming a mainstream tools adoption they would want to make use of on a daily basis.

So while those reasons that Melanie mentioned are certainly very valid, perhaps not only for small but also for large businesses, I think it would be a great opportunity for those who would want to venture into the virtual workplace environment to actually look at all of these social media tools and experiment with them because there is a good chance as well that they would probably be the closest thing towards sharing knowledge and collaborating as if it were in a real life environment. It is all about being social and collaborate with others as being part of the group, i.e. a community, a team, so if from the very beginning that the virtual workplace has been put in place there is an intention to try out all these Web 2.0 tools they would be bound to become much more successful than whatever they may have thought about in the first place. Wouldn’t you think so? Any small businesses out there who would like to comment further on their experiences at adopting social software at their workplace(s)?

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