Two articles caught my attention this morning so I thought I’d connect the dots between them in this week’s article.
The first article indicates that the Microsoft Teams collaboration support tool has passed Slack in terms of daily users. In combination, both tools are used by roughly 23 million users daily which is more than half the population of Canada. Tools such as Teams and Slack provide valuable support for geographically or temporally dispersed team members to collaborate on their work activities. Even for co-located teams, the persistent chat capability of such tools allows team members who were not present for a conversation to catch up when they return to the office. Both Teams and Slack can be accessed via web browsers and from their own smartphone apps.
The other article provides four tactics for helping team members avoid digital distraction. Creating quiet spaces for mental recharging, encouraging device-free breaks, facilitating the development of team working agreements which will include reasonable time and location boundaries for device usage and supporting team members who choose to block time in their working calendars for distraction-free work can all help.
Whereas the first article highlights the growing importance and incidence of being constantly connected, the second encourages us to help staff to disconnect.
What is ironic is that an agile mindset values focus and yet the tooling used to support agile delivery encourages greater levels of distraction.
But something critical is missing from the second article.
One of the most important influences for encouraging our team members to find a healthy balance is their perceptions of our own actions. When we are in one-on-one or group meetings, are we closing our laptop lids and keeping our phones in our pockets or purses and letting calls go to voicemail? Are we resisting the temptation to initiate or to respond to team conversations or questions outside of normal working hours? And are we self-aware enough to be aware when we don’t model the healthy device usage behavior we’d like our team members to demonstrate?
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.