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If You Freelance, Here’s How to Collaborate Efficiently

Freelancing can be a great way to work. You don’t have to live by corporate edicts, you have the freedom to choose your work (well, at least you like to pretend you do -- any freelancer knows you rarely turn down an assignment!) and you can work when and where you like.

Of course, there are challenges: getting work, keeping clients and figuring out how to collaborate in an efficient way. As any freelancer knows, time is money and driving to see clients can burn a good chunk of a day that could otherwise be used to get the work done!

Lorie Vela at Collaborationideas.com makes this observation:

Being a freelancer is already hard enough made even harder by adding new tasks and complicated operations when it comes to contacting, interacting and communicating with others. But the truth is that freelancers know better than anyone else what collaboration is all about, because being a freelancer means having to co-work with others, whether they are clients, customers, providers, etc, you always need to send files, emails, manage contacts, share, . Obviously, there’s a need to count on reliable tools and resources to work, but how about the planning and strategy to make it easier?

I’m surprised by how many freelancers collaborate in a very intuitive way, without even noticing they are doing so, they simply call it work. But knowing that you are “collaborating” could probably help you understand why sometimes things go wrong, why communication fails, why organizing tasks seems sometimes like an impossible issue to get resolved in time.

We want to help you collaborate effectively.

Using online meetings can save you tons of time. You don’t have to travel and you can meet with anyone who has a computer or internet device (think phone, iPad, etc.).You can use your webcam to make the meeting personal and share drafts, thumbnails, and more because online meetings let you show whatever is on your computer to your participants. And they can share too.

Maybe the best thing for freelancers is Read More »

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China Study Reveals Web Meetings Top Choice for Improving Communications

Our Cisco WebEx colleagues in China engaged a study with Bite Communications aimed at learning more about China’s mobile workforce. “The Science of Company Productivity Survey” was launched on one of China’s leading portals for two weeks in June.

Among the findings, they learned in China, collaboration technologies can play an integral role in improving organizational effectiveness while helping employees achieve a more flexible, balanced and efficient work life. Given a range of choices, respondents chose web meetings as their preferred method of working with others.

A Quick Look at the Findings

In China, one day of the work week doesn’t seem to be any more crazy than the other. When asked when people feel most overloaded at work, the answer spanned the week!

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Don’t Kill Employee Motivation: Blanchard Team Presents Delivering Feedback that Gets Results

Providing good feedback does not occur naturally or by default. To provide effective feedback, leaders must learn, develop, and cultivate fundamental skills. Organizations that do not address these fundamental skills risk creating an environment where people fail to observe, reflect and self-correct their behavior.

Register for this free WebEx event now.

In 1998, Fast Company wrote an article on employee feedback and over ten years ago managers faced the same problems:

Too many leaders still treat feedback as a once-a-year event, rather than an ongoing discipline. “Doing annual appraisals is like dieting only on your birthday and wondering why you’re not losing weight,” cracks Saunier. Too many leaders confuse feedback with paperwork. “Filling out a form is inspection, not feedback,” says Kelly Allan, senior associate of Kelly Allan Associates Ltd., a consulting firm based in Columbus, Ohio whose clients have included Boeing, Paramount Pictures, and IBM. “History has taught us that relying on inspections is costly, improves nothing for very long, and makes the organization less competitive.”

Why is giving feedback so difficult? Read More »

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Are You an Agile Worker? How to Successfully Work Remotely

It’s your dream.

On occasion, you would love to get up a little later, not rush to shower and get dressed, have a decent breakfast and avoid jumping in the car and dealing with traffic. You know you’d be more productive working at home, pounding away without interruptions. You are wearing your comfy day-jammies because you don’t have to dress to impress.

How do you make it happen? (Learn more first hand at this free event.)

The answer is becoming an “agile worker”.

“An Agile Worker operates from any convenient location. They may use a desk in the office or a casual drop-in space designed for short micro-working spells. They are often found working in a public space with WiFi access or whilst travelling using mobile GPRS or 3G connected devices. Some are road warriors staying in hotels, moving from meeting to meeting and working throughout the day as and when they can gain access to networks. Agile Workers also work from home usually on an occasional (say one or two days in 10) basis.” -- Steve Gillies, BT Viewpoint

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Manufacturing: Be there while staying here

One of the challenges all of today’s manufacturing companies face is global operations that require increased attention from a diverse and oftentimes shrinking or aging workforce. Manufacturers and machine builders are faced with challenges every day in terms of getting the right engineer or expert from her office to the plant floor half the globe away. If the plant is down or operating inefficiently there are huge cost impacts to the manufacturer, huge support cost to the machine builder, and just tremendous impact to the value chain.

At Cisco we have shaved hundreds of millions of expense dollars from our budget by using a variety of collaboration tools. These start with Unified Communications but they include tools like WebEx, TelePresence, Video and Active Collaboration Rooms. These all add on to the existing capabilities of Borderless Networks. Many of our manufacturing customers already use these tools and are successfully stripping cost from their Operations every day.

Imagine the power of walking into a conference room, pressing a button on the phone and instantly seeing your assembly operations in China and Germany, being able to share data with the operations people from both plants with your staff in Michigan. Finishing that meeting you can capture the action items via your interactive whiteboard, set up follow-up calls via WebEx (all without printing, by the way! A Green feature!). Then you can get a cup of coffee and head back to your office and handle the call from Brazil about the packaging machine that wraps half the skid, then shuts down – and you do that from your phone, finding the design engineer that is at a customer site in Australia. And you did this all without having to fly anywhere, and you had visual contact with everyone. Read More »

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