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Smarter Working: TW3 and the role of online collaboration

Earlier this year, the term ‘TW3’ started to crop up with regularity in online forums and discussions about public sector working practices and civil service reform. However, you would have been forgiven for not knowing what it meant.

Did it signify renewed interest in That Was the Week That Was, David Frost’s short-lived satire show from the 1960s? Or perhaps it predicted an imminent exodus of civil servants from Westminster to new premises within the Twickenham postcode district (Hounslow to be exact)?

Of course, TW3 in this context is actually an abbreviation of The Way We Work – a new programme to develop smarter working practices throughout the civil service. So why the confusion? Well, there was no grand announcement for TW3, no press release heralding a bold new era for the civil service, and no accompanying policy documents to digest.

That’s not to say there has been no effort to promote this initiative – the TW3 Guide to Smart Working in Government was officially unveiled at Civil Service Live 2014 in London on July 15th. However, by then the term was already being used frequently. In any case, the lack of fanfare surrounding TW3 is actually refreshing, and closely reflects the priorities of the project itself.

Firstly, TW3 is an attempt to break away from an old and accepted ways of doing things – the assumption that tasks must be completed at a specific time, in a specific place, in a specific way. So it makes sense to avoid the traditional method of introducing new initiatives as well. Secondly, the absence of official media and communications around TW3 suggests the programme is an attempt to co-ordinate changes that are already taking place at various levels, in some cases quite naturally, rather than a brand new directive to be implemented from the top down. And that is extremely positive for the civil service.

So we’re excited about TW3 at Kahootz, not least because we know that online collaboration tools are set to play a key role in achieving the programme’s objectives.

The origins of TW3 can be traced back to the Civil Service Reform Plan of 2012, which included the goal of “creating a decent working environment for all staff, with modern workplaces enabling flexible working, substantially improving IT tools and streamlining security requirements to be less burdensome for staff”.

Taking this one step further, the Guide to Smart Working Government sets out a new vision of the civil service (with the aim of achieving it by 2015). It envisages an organisation where people:

• Focus on outcomes not process
• Are empowered by technology
• Work flexibly and cost-effectively
• Collaborate more effectively with other teams in their own department and other
• Maximise productivity and innovation while reducing environmental impact

Realising this vision will mean making adjustments in many different areas – it’s as much about encouraging new behaviours, changing attitudes and altering the physical layout of working environments as it is technology. However, it’s also easy to see how being in Kahootz will help teams to achieve each of the goals listed above.

Focus on outcomes not process
With Kahootz, you’re free to collaborate your way. You control the online workspace layout, which means you can add or remove the folders, documents and items you want. It’s all about creating the best workspace for the best outcome.

Be empowered by technology
Online collaboration breaks down barriers. It makes communicating with other people easy, whether they’re based within your office or an external organisation. Bringing people together to share ideas is the goal.

Work flexibly and cost-effectively
Accessible to anyone with a web browser and an internet connection, Kahootz is built for mobile working. It also delivers a swift return on investment, as there is no need to invest in expensive hardware.

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