people reading newspapers on the subway
PHOTO: Peter Lawrence

It’s always been a given that connecting workers and enabling communication is an important part of digital workplace culture. However, Workplace by Facebook has gone and quantified just how important it is. A survey of more than 4,000 US and UK frontline workers and HQ managers shows there are some major communication challenges between frontline workers and business leaders, which is having a negative impact on productivity.

But before looking at the figures, it is also important to note that 80% of the world’s workforce doesn’t sit at a desk all day. They are on the shop floor, in factories, out in the field, in the air or on the road. It seems that despite changes in organizational culture and the introduction of new tools in terms of communication and collaboration, we still have a long way to go. The survey shared three specific findings:

  • There’s a major disconnect between those based at HQ and employees on the frontline.
  • This disconnect is preventing valuable ideas from rising through the business, limiting innovation and stopping key talent from being recognized.
  • Lack of communication means many employees don’t feel listened to or valued, with a risk of quitting lingering close by. Connecting the entire business and ensuring everyone has a voice is an essential part of a happy, successful organization.

While connecting the whole organization and giving everyone a voice is an essential part of a happy, successful business, 17% said they never speak with their head office figure which falls to just 8% in organizations using collaboration tools.

There are some other interesting figures too. Eighty-six percent of employees feel connected to their direct co-workers but only 14% feel connected to their business HQ with only 3% connected to their C-Suite.

Elsewhere in the report, 83% of managers say they give their employees a voice, however 54% of workers feel voiceless. Another puzzling figure shows that while 97% of business leaders recognize the value of collaboration tools, only 56% have rolled them out.

“One thing is for sure: a large proportion of today’s employees feel undervalued and disconnected from their management. This must change, and business leaders need to empower their people to have open and democratic conversations, so they can learn from them,” according to the report.

Box Makes Content Process Automation Easier

This week Box gave its workflow automation system, Box Relay, a major overhaul that will pull Relay deeper into the Box platform and give it a lot more enterprise appeal, especially for those users that want to design content workflows without IT support.

This is specifically designed for content-driven processes that are deeply collaborative and are embedded in every part of the business (from sales and marketing to finance and HR).

The overhaul will see Box simplify process management. It works with a simple 'if this then that' automation engine and comes with a flexible interface and range of input and output options that allows users to automate a variety of content-driven processes.

Workflows can be triggered by more than 20 events, ranging from a task completion, a file upload, or a changed metadata attribute. Outcomes are similarly diverse, acting on folders, files, tasks and metadata templates. Relay allows both sequential and parallel flows, so steps can happen in a predetermined order, or simultaneously.

Rebuilt from the ground up on Box, Relay now inherits all the benefits of the Box Cloud Content Management platform, including advanced security and compliance, rich Box Platform APIs, prebuilt productivity integrations like Slack, Office 365 and DocuSign, and user-friendly collaboration features like automatic push notifications across mobile and web.

Box has also included:

  • An updated Box workflow automation suite.
  • Collaboration pathways so business users can assign tasks to customers, vendors or partners outside the firewall.
  • A new dashboard tracking workflow history.
  • A no-code workflow builder.
  • Closer integration to Box cloud content management security and compliance features.

The all new Box Relay is in private beta with a few dozen customs and is scheduled to go out on general release next month. Relay will be available in both a paid and a free Relay ‘Lite' version.

G Suite Pushes Confidentiality out to Gmail

Elsewhere, Google continues its privacy drive by announcing the planned general release of Gmail confidential mode for G Suite for the end of next month. The feature was launched to a limited audience earlier this year.

At launch, confidential mode will be set to default ON for all domains with Gmail enabled, unless you choose to disable this feature.

According to a blog post from Google, the new confidential mode offers built-in information rights in emails by allowing senders to create expiration date and revoke previously sent messages. It can also secure other emails by offering senders the possibility of requiring authentication to via text message, to open a given email.

With confidential mode, recipients don’t have the option to forward, copy, print or download their content or attachments. The confidential mode works using Vault and eDiscovery. When a user sends a confidential message, Gmail replaces the message body and attachments with a link. Only the subject and body containing the link are sent via SMTP.

Gmail confidential was introduced last year for personal accounts 2018 and was put in place by using a ‘locked’ icon near the send button. With G Suite, it will be in exactly the same place and will work pretty much the same.

Kissflow Moves Further Into Digital Workplace

Meanwhile, Kissflow, a business process and workflow management software developer, announced its expansion into the digital workplace. To do this it is launching a platform that pulls together project management, process automation and team collaboration. The objective is to streamline business workflows and enterprise productivity.

With Kissflow’s unified digital workplace, teams will be able to replace disconnected point solutions by:

  1. Enabling discussions and conversations using channels for smooth teamwork.
  2. Coordinating cases, projects and tasks using case management and project management tools to achieve business goals.
  3. Controlling processes by automating them.

This recent addition pushes Kissflow beyond workflow management and into the area of digital workplace management.

Quest Protects Oracle Databases

Finally this week, Quest Software, a global systems management, data protection and security software provider, has pushed Toad for Oracle into general availability. This new add-on module enables Database Administrators (DBAs) to play a key role in maintaining compliance regulations across the business.

With Toad for Oracle SDP, DBAs can quickly identify and protect sensitive data across the database infrastructure to help their organization mitigate against the risk of non-compliance with data regulations.

With the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) now in effect, organizations are taking a closer look at available database management options as they implement regulation strategies to ensure that data stored meets regulation requirements and doesn’t pose a threat to business. The consequence of non-compliance, carry severe financial penalties as well as reputational damage.

Designed specifically for Oracle DBAs, Toad for Oracle SDP scans metadata and table data to identify personal and sensitive data, then works with Oracle’s encryption, redaction and auditing technologies to protect data.