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The future of work in construction

22/08/2018 | By: Richard Harris | #Collaboration

Future of Construction Work WEB

Richard Harris, director of B2B communications platform Okappy, explains why communication and collaboration – both within the organisation and beyond – are essential for businesses to succeed.

Collaboration is the Way Forward
Transparency, collaboration and clear communication are critical for businesses today - without them you’re going nowhere. Better communication and collaboration within industries gives staff a sense of purpose, but it also allows the team to do a better job.

The value of this is illustrated by an exchange between JFK and a janitor at a NASA space centre in 1962. The president asked the man what he was doing. He replied, “Well, Mr. President, I'm helping put a man on the moon.”

In a large construction project dozens of individuals may well be contributing to the process. If they understand what is fundamentally intended and work in concert then the process is likely to go far, far more smoothly. After all, a business that has 100 employees spends a reported 17 hours (or two working days) a week trying to gain clarity from poor communication – illustrating the sheer scale of the issue.

Encouraging staff to connect across roles, disciplines and levels of seniority presents the opportunity for them to acquire new perspectives and to find novel solutions to old problems – in effect engineering serendipity. This can also do the more basic job of letting management know about the issues that are being felt at the coalface, and the various bodges and workarounds that staff are deploying to get their jobs done. But how do we better open up these communication flows within our workplaces?

New Ways of Working
Social Networks have revolutionised how billions of people around the world communicate with each other. Up until now, Industry has largely been left behind. However, this is changing rapidly with new technology and, in particular, market networks affecting how millions of service workers around the world communicate and collaborate.

Companies that don’t embrace change of this kind will find it increasingly difficult to compete with the more nimble, dynamic and ambitious companies which can work together effectively to provide the best customer service.

In the broader scheme of things, communication and collaboration – both within the organisation and beyond – are essential for businesses to succeed today. Siloing of information and resources wastes effort and reduces the organisation’s capability, efficiency and competitiveness. Indeed, a first step in any effort to boost business agility is to establish where communication flows are being blocked – and to promptly tackle the problem.

Richard will be giving two talks on the topic of ‘The Future of Work in the Construction Industry’ at UK Construction Week this October.

The World of Work is Changing - How Can You Keep Up?
Sustainability Hub: Tuesday 9th October 10:30 - 11:00

What is a Market Network and How Will They Revolutionise Your Industry?
Building Tech Live Theatre brought to you by Voltimum and ECA: Thursday 11th October 13:30 - 14:00

Richard Harris webRichard Harris is a director of innovative B2B communications platform Okappy which rethinks how companies manage their day-to-day work by combining social and market network technology to facilitate communication and collaboration between employees and subcontractors across different sites - and with different clients.


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