Disconnected. That’s how we reckon many Wellingtonians must feel while their office buildings get assessed for earthquake damage. Of course, most, if not all, will work from home. However, being separated from work colleagues is not always so great — sometimes, there is just no substitute for face-to-face communication.
The age of connectivity
The world has never been more connected. As a result, we can enjoy flexible working arrangements and communicate in real-time with anyone on the planet.
‘Connectivity’, though, comes with a price. And, ironically, many workers actually feel more isolated and less connected.
This is because, even though office politics is a drag, interacting with colleagues fosters a feeling of camaraderie and togetherness.
Nowbridge is an application that takes photos using the camera on your computer screen. Every few seconds, these photos are exchanged with those of your contacts.
Rick, is a project manager for a property development company. Though based in Wellington, his team resides in Auckland. He explains that before Nowbridge, it was hard to keep track of everyone’s availability.
“I use Nowbridge every day. It allows me to see who is in the office. So, if I want to talk to them, I know whether they are available—it’s like a virtual office,” says Rick.
Now, if you think Nowbridge sounds like “Big Brother’, Rick says it is nothing of the sort and is no different to working in an office environment.
“You control who you connect with and when, and you can only be seen by the people you can see. If you’re not in the office and your computer isn’t on, the other person just sees a blank screen.”
He points out that there is no sound and none of the images are recorded.
One of the main benefits, Rick explains, is it provides the illusion of being together, which is important when working on joint projects.
“As an employee, you feel part of the team, so your behaviour is similar to if you worked in an office,” says Rick.
Also, don’t worry about offending someone whose face you don’t want to see every day. If you choose not to connect with a colleague, they will just see a black space where your image should be. For all they know, you could be out of the office or not using Nowbridge.
For those in Wellington
Luckily, Rick wasn’t affected by the recent earthquake. However, he believes Nowbridge would be a an ideal solution for reconnecting displaced workers.