A video from the folks at AppBeat, discussing how smartphones, tablets and mobile enterprise apps can improve a your bottom line, internal collaboration, and all around effectiveness.
The influence of Hawaiian history and values play a major role in our company culture. Even the name of our company is an ancient Hawaiian martial art. It’s important to us that this source of inspiration stays present through the day, and that we’re able to share it with the people who visit our office and come into contact with Lua. To accomplish this, we enlisted the help of Casey Opstad, a friend and expert muralist, to fill the office with images of ancient Hawaii. For those of you who won’t get the chance to see his work in person, take a journey through our murals and their meanings below.
The Journey Toward Oahu
In May 1795, King Kamehameha I’s troops set off for the island of O’ahu, aiming to unify the Hawaiian islands under one rule. As depicted in our mural, their approach toward the island carries great significance. It preceded one of the most important battles in Hawaiian history, known as the Battle of Nu’uanu. The battle began as soon as Kamehameha’s troops landed on the shore of O’ahu and raged for days. Using the Hawaiian martial art called Lua, Kamehameha’s army outmaneuvered the enemy, eventually forcing the troops of O’ahu to retreat toward a dead-end overlooking a 1,000 foot drop. Over 400 O’ahu warriors jumped or were pushed off the cliff and Kamehameha was victorious, leaving just the island of Kauai outside of his control.
Kamehameha I’s father, was the 25th king of Maui. He was named after the Hawaiian god of thunder, who was believed to be black on one side. Because of this, Kahekili tattooed one side of his body completely black from head to foot. He was the last independent king of Maui, and during his he reign, he conquered and ruled over every island in the chain but the Big Island. In the early days of Kamehahema I’s campaign, he faced his father on the battlefield. After Kahekili II passed, his son continued his legacy. Kamehameha I officially united the island chain for the first time in history and created the Kingdom of Hawai’i in 1810.
Our last mural is a totem of the Hawaiian god Ku. His significance is complex. Both the god of prosperity and the much-feared god of war, it is said that Kamehameha prayed to Ku and received guidance from him on his campaign to unite the Hawaiian islands. Ku is “The Terrifying God” and “The Benevolent Face,” demanding human sacrifice while also guiding fisherman to their next catch.
Below the totem is Ku’s full name: “Ku-ka-ili-moku.”
BYOD is on the rise in 2013, and connectivity seems to be its largest roadblock. However, this hurdle is quickly diminishing as the number of global public Wi-Fi hotspots skyrockets. The most recent iPass quarterly study on the “Global Mobile Workforce” reported these findings, among many others.
The report examines: Wi-Fi growth, Evolution of BYOD, Mobile Worker Devices, and Mobile Data Usage. Here are a few of the report’s statistical findings:
- Most mobile workers are within range of a Wi-Fi network for at least 11 hours per day.
- There will be 5.8 million public Wi-Fi hotspots by 2015
- A majority of mobile workers said they would choose either the iPhone or iPad if they had one device for work
Check out the full report HERE
In recent years, the major changes in mainstream retail have happened online. Consumers are taking quickly to shopping from their couches, with speed of delivery steadily decreasing. However, the latest development for America’s ‘big box’ retail industry is happening (partly) offline.
Walmart, Amazon, and eBay, among others, are trying something different. These companies are fighting to revolutionize ordering. They’re starting to implement same-day delivery – where things ordered online show up at customers’ doors in a matter of hours. What makes this possible? The creation of mobile workforces to carry out this specific arm of their business. For this type of fulfillment, stores must begin to serve as both retail locations and small warehouses for local deliveries.
Last week, a Wired article broke down the process of how Walmart fills one of these same-day orders.
1. The order is placed online. Selection is limited by the inventory at your local store.
2. An Hour Later: Workers must fill the order in under a few hours. At the store, a ‘picker,’ specifically working on same-day orders, pushes a cart down the aisle, placing items in different bins.
3. 3-6 Hours Later: Walmart trucks carry orders from the store to customers’ houses.
eBay’s new same-day service is called eBay Now. Currently active in San Francisco and New York, the ordering process happens over an iPhone of Web app. The program involves partnering with Macy’s, Target, Office Depot, and Best Buy so that an Ebay Now ‘Valet’ delivers it on the same day for a fee of $5. Their team of valets operates like bike messengers. Dispatched from a central hub, they move all around the city, shopping in stores for items ordered over the app and delivering them immediately.
Amazon already has same-day delivery in place in nearly 10 cities. Now, the online retail giant is opening warehouses across the country, and is looking to greatly expand the range of their same-day delivery. To do this, they will be building massive warehouses in the backyards of every major region on the US. In total, Amazon will spend about $500 million and hire 10,000 people to staff its new warehouses in California. Amazon is also in talks of automated ‘delivery lockers’ at certain affiliate retailers such as Staples and 7-Eleven, and drug stores. These would be drop off points where it’s mobile workforce would drop orders throughout the day for customers who live in close proximity to the locker locations.
These distribution models require a lot of moving parts. Each one is different, but from pickers and delivery trucks to dispatchers and couriers, mobile, distributed workforces are making it all possible.
We believe that organizations have the power to design the type of work structure they want, unbounded by spacial or technological constraints. Our mission is to help teams work better and improve collaboration no matter how they work. In this post, we want to put a spotlight on Automattic Inc., a company that’s thriving while employing an unconventional management style.
In most industries there exists a somewhat standard structure, whether it’s employees sitting at rows of computer terminals, mobile workers directed by in-office dispatchers, or remote freelancers. For many businesses, their industry’s standard structure works quite well. Often, it’s a tried and true model and something that helps employees feel comfortable. Other times, the standard structure remains unchallenged simply because it’s taken for granted or because altering it seems organizationally daunting. In these instances, we have deep respect for organizations that craft work styles which fit their own unique goals perfectly.
Automattic Inc., the company that runs WordPress.com (the blogging platform you’re reading on right now), is an example of an organization that has crafted an unusual style of workforce management, but continues to grow and truly believes they’ve found the perfect solution for their company. WordPress.com is the 15th most trafficked website in the world. Nonetheless, Automattic doesn’t have a single office. Every employee works from home, or wherever they please (There’s also no limit on employee vacation days). They even display a map of their employees’ locations around the globe. The company is growing, profiting, and believes their distributed nature is central to what they do.
In Daily Tekk’s interview with Sara Rosso, the WordPress.com VIP Global Services Manager gives a good sense of how they understand the significance of their work style. Sara explains, “I would describe Automattic’s culture as Distributed. Not only does this refer to our physical organization and lack of offices, it’s also part of the fabric of the company.”
In another recent HBR piece, former “Automoattician,” Scott Berkun breaks down the philosophies that underpin the company’s novel approach to the distributed workforce. He points to five things that companies’ thinking about including remote work in their process should know:
1. Creativity thrives online
“…Chat rooms, social media, and blogs provide many chance encounters and serendipitous ideas. Dozens of times a day, WordPress.com releases new features and updates, and they collaborate intensely around them on internal blogs and in chat rooms. Remote work certainly changes the nature of interaction, but to assume this inhibits creativity is ridiculous.”
2. Not all remote work is the same
“To evaluate remote work as a singular idea is a paper tiger. There are many policies to choose from and those choices matter…Any progressive idea can be made to fail if the people in charge don’t support it.”
3. Culture is critical
“If employees are self-motivated and empowered, remote work can accelerate productivity. However in autocratic or bureaucratic organizations the freedom of remote work runs against the culture. Of course remote workers will be less productive if they’re in environments that depend on centralized, rule-oriented, or committee heavy processes. But even then it can work if managers care more about results than pretense.”
4. It should be up to the employee
“If a worker proves they can perform as well, or better, from home there’s little reason to complain. Even at a bureaucratic company, a motivated worker may be able to find ways to do their job productively in a remote environment. Why not let them try? If they’re right everyone wins.”
5. Tools make a difference
“Automattic employees rarely use email…A special kind of blog, called a P2, solves many of the annoyances of email, and simultaneously facilitates remote work…At Automattic, even when employees meet in person they use the same tools as when working apart. This helps ensure no one feels left out or misses conversations, regardless of their time zone.”
As new technologies for collaboration and communication emerge, organizations are inspired to rethink the way they work. At Lua, We don’t favor any style of work over others and believe that the right type of organizational structure is determined completely on a case by case basis. However, we have a deep respect for organizations that craft unique work styles with intentionality. Through this mindfulness, we organizations are creating efficiencies, making employees happy, and doing good business all around.
Companies are increasingly beginning to understand the importance of fostering a productive mobile workforce. Unfortunately, as is made overwhelmingly clear in the new Global Mobility Survey conducted by Deloitte, this knowledge is not the same as action. It seems as though there is a widespread desire among HR, talent and global mobility professionals to make strides in developing good mobile workforce practices, but that few of them feel their efforts have been successful.
Here is a quick look at some of the findings:
- Only 2% of organizations see their global mobility function as world class
- 70% of business and HR stakeholders say global mobility in their organization is underperforming or needs improvement
- Nearly 40% of organizations say they are currently reviewing or are about to review their overall mobility strategies
- Only 12% perform assessments of their mobility practices and make links back to improvement efforts
This week officially marks second annual Telework Week. The event is a global effort ‘to encourage agencies, organizations, and individuals to pledge’ to telecommute. Marissa Mayer’s announcement about the elimination of remote workers at Yahoo has been in the news over the past couple of weeks, however this initiative (and its rapidly growing number of participants) offers a stark contrast to that development. This year over 130,000 workers have pledged to telecommute in observance of Telework Week, up from 71,000 last year.
Further highlighting the emergence of the mobile workforce in the public sector, 90 percent of the workers pledging this week are federal employees. 80 percent of those are based in the D.C. metro-area. While it may seem surprising that so many government employees/agencies are buying in, it’s clear that they see the far reaching benefits of telecommuting for employees, organizations, and the environment.
“Telework increases employee productivity, reduces traffic congestion, and improves business continuity through incentivizing flexible work arrangements. By participating in Telework Week, individuals and organizations have the opportunity to stress test systems to ensure that in the event of an emergency or inclement weather, operations can continue.” – Congressman Rob Wittman (R-VA)
Telework Week 2013 Stats:
- 93% of people using a laptop to telecommute
- 3.5 hours saved on average by every employee not commuting to work this week
- 75 dollars saved on average by every worker
- 489,000 gallons of gas spared by workers not commuting
- 15,651,821 pounds of pollution not emitted by employees staying at home this week