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The “Presence” concept?

Posted on September 1st, 2011 by TimClaes

The Holidays…

Today it is the 1st of september. The holiday period is for many of us behind us. The kids go back to school, so time for me to go back to my ‘Trends Applied’ blogs. And what would be a better topic to start with than the “Presence” concept. I’m sure many of you have encountered similar challenges as I have during this holiday period. Trying to reach out for people that weren’t there, checking social media updates from certain people that were still showing their latest post and many similar situations where a good introduction of “presence” could come in handy. Let me elaborate.

The power of “Presence” in the high performance workplace

 The book “Employees first, Customers second: turning conventional management upside down” by Vineet Nayar clearly illustrates that our employees are our most important assets. Not only the managers, but especially the people in the field, the people who actually create value for the company.

It is therefore important to set up a high performance workplace for these employees, recognizing that each one of them has specific needs to realize the necessary results for the company. The “presence” concept is one of these needs.

Presence Concept

What is the “presence” concept about? Well, in essence it allows you – as an end user – to check whether other people in the company are available, busy or not on-line. This will avoid unnecessary e-mails to other people that are not available and help you to get in contact with the available people in an easy way.

Some tools – like Lync from Microsoft – visualize the “presence” concept simply by adding a green, yellow, orange or red bullet next to a person’s name.

You also have the possibility to link “skills” to people, and then the “presence” concept starts to get interesting. Imagine that you’re working on a certain task which requires an in-depth opinion about a certain topic. Then you can start looking in your organisation to the people who work a lot around these items. This last feature is in my opinion still undervalued and could help us in working better together more efficiently.

Another area where the presence concept is undervalued are the social media tools.

Should the “Presence” concept be integrated in social media tools?

Last month I’ve enjoyed my holidays and most of the time I was completely disconnected from the digital world. In the beginning it felt a bit strange, but after a while I started to get used to it, and now – to be honest – it took me quite some time to start off again. (I know… I’m a digital immigrant…)

But what happened now during the last holiday period? When I looked at my profile on twitter or linkedin for instance I noticed that my last tweet and my last activity was still present. So this means that during a complete month people associated me with my latest message. That is something to think about, no? Could the “presence” concept not be of help here? A simple ‘out-of-office’ message or something alike?

Anyways the “presence” concept is something people understand, but ’til now I must say that the potential behind this presence concept – in my opinion – is truely undervalued. It is not about inventing new thing, it is about using the existing technologies smartly together.


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