There’s no question how drastically our work lives have transformed over the past year. But in many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic only hammered the final nail in the coffin of the traditional office environment. For many workers, it’s been a not-so-fond farewell to cubicles, traffic jams, and stuffy conference rooms. In turn, they’ve sought out work processes that encourage rather than hinder collaboration.
Enter Bluescape, a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provider whose offerings help far-flung teams collaborate within a central digital workspace—all while avoiding the security and compatibility headaches that often come with remote work. The company’s digital efforts to reimagine what’s possible in today’s workplace have helped it earn a spot on Fast Company’s list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies.
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In recent years, companies have been flooded with new technology, from CRM platforms to IM apps. As a result, many firms have become choosier about their software options. But the pandemic f lipped that script as companies, faced with a sudden shift to remote work, eagerly sought out tools that could keep teams connected and productivity humming along. As companies add more apps, Bluescape’s solution—a unifying platform offering functionality that the usual grab-bag of individual tools just can’t muster— looks more appealing.
Whiteboarding, brainstorming, planning, creating presentations and reviews, and decision-making are just some of the ways teams collaborate on Bluescape. This helps employees avoid that dreaded “tool sprawl”—productivity lost from toggling between the dozens of apps and software products to get work done—while having the confidence the system is safe from security breaches. “You essentially can now have one dashboard—one pane of glass—for all your applications,” explains Peter Jackson, Bluescape’s CEO. “This pane of glass is capable of bringing in everything you do and anybody you want to share it with, at the same time, and then it creates a history of it.”
Teams have used Bluescape to launch projects as diverse as clothing lines, automobiles, animated films, and marketing campaigns. Essentially, the platform is a repository inside which almost any kind of content—from videos to documents— can be housed. “So when we come together, we could talk specifically about that piece of content in a Slack thread, because it’s actually in there,” Jackson says.
HYBRID WORK IS HERE TO STAY
Bluescape experienced exponential growth in 2020 amid the stampede toward digital collaboration tools. Jackson doesn’t see that trend reversing. “A lot of people decided that they wanted to have a higher-quality life,” Jackson says. “If the average commute time is 26 minutes each way, that’s equivalent to three weeks a year that you’re in your car.”
As a result, many companies are considering sticking with a hybrid model that blends in-person and virtual spaces. That might involve teams working remotely but coming together for regularly scheduled huddles—for example, meeting in person once a month to have a group lunch and working together for an afternoon.
Jackson says the next step is to rethink the traditional Monday-through-Friday workweek, giving employees more latitude to decide not only where to work, but when. “Imagine if you could work Monday through Wednesday and get your job done; you could take Thursday and Friday off,” he says. “If you tie everything to time and productivity—which has started to happen over the last year—that’s really where the disruption is.”