A dynamic alliance led by global technology giant Cisco and telecommunications leader Optus, in partnership with La Trobe University and Curtin University, has produced a new paper which found that collaborative technology can benefit teams who are working remotely, especially in the government, health and education sectors.
The paper, co-authored by Professor Aniruddha Desai from the La Trobe University Centre for Technology Infusion and Professor Mark Griffin from the Future of Work Institute at Curtin University, involved interviewing key industry, government and university stakeholders to better understand the key challenges and opportunities they face when working remotely.
La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO said this timely research is a perfect example of the importance of strong research and industry collaboration in delivering impact on a national and global scale.
“The strength of La Trobe’s established partnerships with Cisco, Optus and with Curtin University are exemplified in this important research which addresses the very current topic of collaborative technology and remote working,” Professor Dewar said.
Professor Griffin said the transformation of work in this day and age is critical to the resilience of individuals in the workplace and their consequent productivity.
“This paper outlines how collaborative technologies can improve productivity and interaction between people and technology. The constant developments in communication technology, in particular video conferencing and instant messaging, is enabling collaboration on a scale previously available only to large organisations,” Professor Griffin said.
“Not only does the paper help in confirming the importance of these technologies in government, health and education sectors, it also highlights the increasing need for collaboration between these sectors.”
Professor Desai said while the paper outlines some of the potential opportunities for teams and workplaces using collaborative technologies, it is also important to understand and address some of the risks.
“In a disrupted workforce, some risks are foreseen. This can happen when automation is not only replacing repetitive physical tasks, but also changing cognitive and creative roles in many industries,” Professor Desai said.
“The participants in our study identified multiple risks during transitions to future ways of working. In some cases, poor implementation of technology might not only fail to achieve the desired outcomes but also diminish the quality of practices that were already in place.”
Cisco ANZ Vice-President Mr Ken Boal said COVID-19 has underscored the critical nature of collaboration technologies in the workplace.
“This piece of work will be critical in supporting a wide-range of sectors including government, health and education to make more informed decisions as they attempt to scale the implementation and adoption of collaboration technologies in the workplace,” Mr Boal said.
Optus Enterprise Managing Director Chris Mitchell commended the work, adding that the National Industry Innovation Network is demonstrating the importance of industry and university collaboration.
“The collective knowledge of industry and academia is vital to generate critical insights that will drive business decisions and help Australian private and public enterprises stay competitive and resilient into the future,” Mr Mitchell said.