MicroWork Is Just Work By Smaller Name

With the release of SharePoint 2013, and the acquisition of Yammer by Microsoft, the concept of Social Business has exploded…well maybe not exploded, but at least entered the lexicon of the Enterprise. This has been a long slog for SharePoint consultants. I remember when I would try and talk to customers upgrading to MOSS 2007 about MySites. As soon as a client heard the term MySite you could see them shut down saying to themselves, "We are not going to have MySpace in our company". It was frustrating to say the least. It didn’t get much better in SP2010. In fact, in some ways it got worse with the tagging and the activity feeds. Suddenly when you talked about those features companies wanted to know how to disable them because they already block Facebook.

Enter SP2013 and Yammer…what was Microsoft thinking? Well, they were thinking that this idea of Social Business or MicroWork is the evolution of the connected Information Worker. When I look at myself from 2004 when I first started using SharePoint to 2013 there are some major changes in how I work, and how I expect to work. In 2004 the only way I got email was at a computer, when I wanted to bank online, or read a new article, or check scores…I logged into my desktop. I used LiveMeeting and loved that I could conference with people and share my screen and even use a web cam (I didn’t own one, but I could have). Games were played on my desktop.





Only at a computer

Smart Phone

Web Browsing

Only at a computer

Smart Phone

Video Conferencing

Only at a computer

Smart Phone

Instant Messaging

Via SMS (expensive) or Computer

Smart Phone (SMS (almost free, Lync, etc.)


Only at a computer

Smart Phone


Fast Forward to 2013 and I do all of those tasks on my Smart Phone, or on a tablet (iPad, Kindle Fire, Surface, etc). Sure, I still use my laptop, but I rarely turn on a desktop anymore. My life has become mobile and I want my life and work to come with me no matter where I am. This is what Microsoft was thinking…they have seen that the workforce is becoming more and more mobile and increasingly demands that their work be available to them on the go.

Recently Yahoo! made some news when their CEO Marissa Mayer ended the company’s policy of telecommuting. Now, personally I think this is a terrible decision. Then again I am a consultant and am writing this blog post at my kitchen table while my son plays in the other room. I could be in the office…but I am getting more done at home these days and so I have been working from home. Technology, though has allowed me to stay connected to my co-workers and clients. While writing this post I have had two quick IM conversations with co-workers on issues that they needed some feedback on, and I was able to give them a quick response and continue to work on this post and the project I am working on.

This is the promise of Social Business, or as I like to call it MicroWorking. When I am standing in line at the grocery store, I am often on my Smart Phone reading emails, or on Facebook, or Texting with someone…in short I am doing something in what was previously unusable time. This is the real potential of MicroWork or Social Business…turning unproductive time into productive time…especially when we are not at our desks.

  • Sitting in a conference room waiting for a meeting to start


  • Walking from one part of the building to another
  • Waiting in the lunch line
  • Walking from the car to the office
  • Getting a cup of coffee at the Starbucks

These are times that are often unproductive that can be made productive via MicroWork. What can we do in those time frames?

  • Approve invoices
  • Enter a timesheets
  • Review a document
  • Answer a question
  • Delegate a task to another person

You get the idea…the idea here is to figure out a bit of work that can be performed and turn it into a MicroWork task. In this manner we accomplish two very important things. First we make our workers more productive and second giving them work in a format that is easy to use and fits in with their lives.


  1. Marc D Anderson March 23, 2013
  2. David Broussard March 23, 2013
  3. Ahmad July 29, 2013
  4. George August 2, 2013

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