The most important part of work is teamwork. Product-development teams scattered around the world collaborating on an exciting innovation. Marketing teams coordinating the release of an ad campaign across North America, Europe, and Asia. Logistics teams moving parts and products from suppliers to the assembly line to customers.
For years, one of the biggest challenges facing such far-flung teams was how to work together across boundaries of time and place. Until September 11, the most direct response to that challenge was to hop on an airplane. A customer has a problem? I'll be in Amsterdam by 10 AM. A software engineer is stumped by a glitch? Let's all meet in Palo Alto at noon. Suddenly, teams that spend most of their time in the air don't seem quite so appealing.
What follows is a collection of smart ideas and useful tools designed to help teams collaborate more while traveling less. You can still work together, even if you stay in place.
Work Together: Tools for Virtual Collaboration
Want to find one area where Internet technology is delivering more than expected? Look within. Intranets are boosting efficiency and creativity, and changing work patterns. Here are seven steps to the ultimate intranet. George Anders
As Texaco taps oil fields all around the world in search of crude, John Old helps the company's 18,000 people tap their collective brainpower -- and the ideas to help the company operate faster and more productively. Fara Warner
As companies march ahead with efforts to link employees through internal Web sites, they are learning a key design principle: If you want your intranet to take off, then take a hands-off approach. The case for intranet democracy. George Anders
Ray Ozzie's latest creation is "intended for people who want to get together and jam -- to interact and improvise with each other." Here's his take on how we will work in the future. Bill Breen
"Groove makes it possible to light up the edge." John Ellis
The Web changes how people communicate, how they share ideas, how they swap information, even how they relax and recharge their batteries. In short, the Web changes how you work -- if you know how to work the Web. Gina Imperato
Meeting I Never Miss. Cathy Olofson
Buckman Labs makes chemicals -- but it sells knowledge. The challenge: invent a way for the global sales force to spend more time with customers and share its brainpower. Glenn Rifkin
What comes after desktop computing? Social computing -- technology that supports communities and turns cyberspace into a cyberplace. Debra Feinstein
Incoming B-school students use Web-based communities to get to know each other, to make group deals for cell phones, and to launch business plans -- before they attend their first class! Linda Tischler
Stay in Place: Travel Alternatives
Has anyone figured out how to stay put? Fast Company hit the road in search of professionals who have found ways not to travel. Jill Rosenfeld
We've moved beyond email, beyond intranets, to the next digital force that will reshape how people work and how they relate to their companies. Oliver Muoto, cofounder of Epicentric Inc., explains the rise of B2E Web portals. Eric Ransdell
Where's the best place for teams to work when their members are located in far-flung places? On the Web. Here are ratings of a collection of Web sites designed to make teams work virtually anywhere. Gina Imperato
Don't hold your next off-site or annual meeting at an expensive resort. Hold it on the Web. These four Web events show you how to expand a meeting's reach, increase participation, and cut costs. Heath Row