Information About The Book!

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. In nibh sapien, aliquet tincidunt fringilla at, feugiat quis enim. Cras consequat, ipsum et posuere venenatis, nulla massa mattis eros, sed varius turpis quam sit amet purus. Vestibulum vehicula consectetur congue. Sed facilisis nisi in lectus convallis, porttitor hendrerit est consequat. Vivamus hendrerit, ante sed ornare molestie, tortor lorem suscipit tortor, id sodales mauris metus quis purus. Nulla egestas tellus eu enim consectetur, sit amet sagittis nisl eleifend. Mauris laoreet venenatis sem, lacinia mollis augue mollis ac. Nulla a neque a justo dignissim feugiat. Mauris rhoncus eros sit amet augue dictum fringilla. Nunc dictum lobortis convallis.

Sub-Heading

Aenean vulputate urna est, ac sollicitudin enim vulputate et. Vestibulum tempus lacinia consequat. Donec posuere enim mi, vel lobortis erat pulvinar nec. Duis felis purus, adipiscing sed dolor at, volutpat sagittis magna. Sed imperdiet scelerisque mauris, vulputate dictum augue egestas sit amet. Nullam sit amet eros non purus fermentum dapibus ac a mi. Curabitur id viverra nibh. Donec scelerisque vulputate nunc, non interdum orci. Morbi ut quam eleifend, placerat ipsum eget, iaculis arcu. Curabitur blandit consequat nulla. Praesent non pellentesque neque. Duis tortor purus, dignissim sit amet sagittis egestas, feugiat nec elit. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Nullam pellentesque lectus nec arcu ullamcorper, a vulputate augue semper. Duis auctor velit in nisl scelerisque consectetur. Sed ornare quam diam, at placerat risus tristique at.

Sub-Sub-Heading

Vivamus vel facilisis ante, vel porttitor metus. Sed eu congue nibh. Fusce non diam ut enim pretium pellentesque. Vivamus quis euismod quam, non aliquet risus. Etiam ornare lorem sit amet gravida eleifend. Cras quis nibh pretium, pretium turpis consectetur, lobortis leo. Phasellus sed vestibulum metus, id vestibulum odio. Donec quis nisl ante. Fusce tristique sagittis erat ut bibendum.

How Distance Impacts Employee Communication and Collaboration


Posted by on August 22, 2012

How often do you communicate or collaborate with colleagues that sit next do you?  What about colleagues that are down the hall?  How about colleagues that are hundreds or thousands of miles away?

The farther employees are apart from each other the lower the chance that they will communicate and collaborate.  One of the reasons why many of today’s collaborative tools are so valuable is because they allow this exchange of information regardless of where people are and these tools allow for this information exchange in a far more effective way than email.  How distance impacts communication and collaboration was best understood by T.J. Allen who in 1977 wrote “Managing the Flow of Technology.”  I actually talk about his work in my book in greater details but I wanted to share a visual just to provide some perspective.

In the visual above we can see that the probability of any type of communication drops as distance increases.  In fact once the distance starts to cross 160 feet we’re basically talking about no communication or collaboration whatsoever.  This is a very telling statistic especially when we look at how dispersed organizations are today.  160 feet in many offices can mean just going down the hall or going one floor down in an elevator.

Email isn’t really a solution for this either because you typically email people that you already know and you typically know people that are around you or people that you have to know in your department (which may be farther than 160 feet away).  The challenge many organizations face today is how do they improve communication and collaboration across these boundaries?  This is exactly why collaborative platforms are becoming so valuable to the enterprise (in addition to solving plenty of other challenges that organizations are faced with).

The next time someone asks you why employees don’t communicate or collaborate that often show them this visual.

  • http://info-architecure.blogspot.com driessen

    Interesting post, Jacob! Reminded me of a post I wrote some time ago pointing to Robert Kraut’s work about distance in the workplace: Robert Kraut and Carmen Egido (1998), “Patterns of contact and communication in scientific research and collaboration”. http://info-architecture.blogspot.nl/2008/08/collaborative-thinking-communication.html
    Their work showed that when coworkers are 30 meters apart, this is perceived as the same as when they’re 1 kilometer apart. Kraut also points to Allen.

  • Guest

    Great business case for Social Networking!

  • http://www.facebook.com/niclaslillman Niclas Lillman

    Great business case for IT solutions supporting Social Networking!