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Workplace from Meta is My New Office Space
October 20, 2016

The right mindset is key in the adoption of any new technology or innovation. Our CEO shares some major data on how Workplace from Meta has changed the way he works.

Rob Castaneda, CEO at ServiceRocket.
Rob Castaneda, Founder/CEO

This is one of a series of follow up articles to the one I recently wrote on Why Workplace from Meta Will Win.

In that article, I established my reasoning that Workplace from Meta will allow organizations to connect the heart, head and hands together like never before, that it will bring organizations closer together and more inclusive. However, just because a company decides to deploy Workplace, or any other platform, it doesn’t mean it will be successfully adopted or used in the most effective way. The platform alone doesn't make the change, just like installing a phone doesn't make it ring.

Successful adoption requires a sense for what a company wants to accomplish, or change, and a strategy for using the platform to make that change. For example, in this article I want to share some data on my personal use, the impact it has had and the mindset that I use, as the CEO and leader of a globally distributed mindset, to adopt Workplace inside of our business.

We’ve been using wiki’s, blogs, intranet’s, chat tools since I founded our company in 2001. I’ve always looked to share as much information as we can, where it makes sense - our second company value is Share the Knowledge.

When I reflect back over my time as a young entrepreneur trying to do things in a way that made sense to me, I can think of many examples where others didn’t understand it and weren’t able to put aside their regular way of working to embrace change. I still recall (and many of us recount internal) common sayings, that seem like a joke now, like “this social media thing will never take off!”

Technology has indeed come a long way and disruption is constant.

I clearly see organizations that move to the new way of working will be like the early adopters of the internet and email, whilst the laggards stayed with faxes. Similarly, faxes still haven’t gone away and so email will remain for some time. Leadership of a modern organization needs to nurture and encourage evolution. Along with this, there have been thousands of solutions aimed at providing “social connectivity” for the enterprise.

As a side note, in our office in Palo Alto, I maintain a collection of old Apple and Atari computers, Nokia phones and Sony Walkmans as a reminder to our team at how fast things move. When you visit us in our Palo Alto office, you can sign in on our Vintage Apple.

Mindset: Workplace from Meta is my new office space

Our company is geographically and culturally diverse. We have offices in 4 cities around the Pacific - Palo Alto USA, Sydney Australia, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and Santiago Chile. Being able to connect team members in a personable, visual and natural manner is critical to our growth and productivity.

When we first piloted Workplace from Meta, very quickly we could see the promise of where this would lead. I have included the first post that I published in the system below, shortly after our soft launch.

"Facebook at Work (now Workplace from Meta) is my new office space. It's the corridors I walk down. It's my ability to say hi to everyone and be connected with my team. We all have team members in different offices.

If you need to find me, this is where I am.

Soon, our company meetings will be via Facebook Live. We will have live chats and live streams and no longer have to "dial in". We can all communicate together.

Shortly thereafter, those of us remote will use 360 cameras to be live in the rooms that we present in. VR/AR technology will bring us closer. To the point where our virtual office will be the place we go to work every day.

I've had a lot of fun designing our physical office spaces over the years and already thinking about how this is going to map in the virtual world."

By making this declaration to the team, they could see that I wasn’t just playing around and tinkering in the sandbox. I was jumping in, embracing the technology and then hunting ways to integrate our existing systems into the new way of working.

“My email use dropped. Yes, I measured it"

We’ve certainly created a crazy world for ourselves, and it’s depressing that many of us judge our moods and effectiveness by how many mails are in our inbox. We regularly get hyped up into methodologies that have us striving for Inbox Zero, which usually, as leaders, results in us dumping on our team members. But hey, it feels good, right?

I’m always looking for ways to become more efficient and I make use of a tool that measures the quantity of email that I send. Each month I get a report that shows the volume and types of email that I send/receive. In our first full month of using the Workplace platform, my internal email dropped by 28.74%. Yes, without trying, my internal emails reduced by almost 30%.


Email is now for the foreign affairs department

My mindset has now shifted. My team now knows how to communicate with me - using work chat or via the various groups that we have setup in Workplace. Inside of those groups, we connect to the external applications that we are using - be it various google docs, files inside of Box or one of the hundreds of the many workflow’s that we have setup inside of Jira. But email for me is now primarily for 2 things - calendar appointments and working with external parties.

I no longer have my moods set by the size of my inbox, and I no longer give my team the usual excuse like “it’s in my inbox”. I must have purpose to my day and ensure that I keep focused on the tasks that I need to complete for the day, but I also allocate sufficient time to walk the virtual hallways.

The right mindset is key in adoption of any new technology or innovation. As a leader, having the right mindset will dramatically increase the velocity of your organization, it will also serve to motivate the best and brightest of your team. In our case, the data also shows the added benefit of reducing our internal email volumes significantly and allowing our teams to spend more time Focused on the Outcome.

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