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Working in groups, for people that don’t like groups

We’re living in an age of technology, at home, out and about and of course at work, where employees are yearning for alternate ways to access their workplaces, ultimately making the work life balance much more flexible. The physical landscape and interpretation of our working environment is changing from silos to activity based spaces, and so the tools and technology we require need to change too. Crucial to this change is how groups communicate with one another over multiple locations and time zones, while maintaining an agile and diverse culture.

Previously, employees have all but been shackled to a desk from 9am – 5pm, with the occasional trip to the canteen or into a meeting room for a potential opportunity to avoid being interrupted, but now, spaces are becoming increasingly flexible, with furniture and technology being used to accommodate collaboration and inspire creative thinking between groups of colleagues that might not necessarily be in the same room, building or even country.


The end of email has long been predicted, and several enhanced communication replacements are now vying for our attention. Chief among these was Slack, with 10 million daily users, but Microsoft’s challenger, Teams has recently overtaken it with 13 million daily users. These tools are best used when sharing and collaborating in real time, amongst dispersed individuals working on a central task.

They boast much better logging and tracking of communication between groups. Where email is linear, and a single subject line can split into multiple topics, making it hard to track, channel-based tools like Teams, keep all the information about that project together.

Microsoft Offices in Aliso Viejo, CA by Abramson Teiger Architects

The additional advantages over email, including enhanced video conferencing, file sharing and editing, task assigning and management, means group can continually and spontaneously come together whenever and wherever a project requires their input.

A by-product of this form of communication is how it allows people who feel uncomfortable, or drained, from face to face discussions, to contribute and feel a part of the team. An introvert or someone who is neuro diverse can engage in group discussions, and project work, removed from the need to physically be in a conversation. This freedom to work independently, while feeling connected and supported, is critical for bringing a breadth and diversity of people into the workplace.

Written by Gerard Sweeney – Information Systems Manager and Grace Todd – Marketing Coordinator

Part of the MillerKnoll collective.