I’ve been working as an independent safety consultant for almost five years now. That means my office time is usually spent solo and just lately with the addition of an Amazon device which I can’t name because otherwise it will start talking to me….it kind of feels like I have someone else in my office. Which is so weird! I’m starting to work on some presentation material for a conference I’m speaking at next week where I’m going to be discussing “The Internet Of Things.” It made me think that there are some kind of low hanging fruit with devices that we already widely use… like our cellphones that we may not be using as much as we could to bring our teams together. Whether it’s about safety or in general team building. So, I thought about my days when I would work at one job site and I would be stationed in a job site trailer where we had our team of project managers, project engineers, superintendents, foremen, safety, quality control, and other people that were project stakeholders that would be in and out of the trailer at typical intervals. We had our “kind of” stationary team that was there. That was some really fun “team building” days. It was fun to be in a office atmosphere at a construction site where things were always changing. There was always new challenges and having us based in the job site trailer, we had very frequent team communication. I always felt part of a very functional team. I know that not everyone has that in their office or even on their job sites. I was trying to think of ways that you could use “The Internet of Things.” or just our regular old cellphones that we all have to bring the team together. One of the things I thought of was instant messaging. Even about maybe two years after I left the last job site that I worked full time out of a trailer at…I was still in almost daily contact with my previous team members through instant messaging. Whether they were still at the same company or we all kind of branched out to different companies after that, we still used our G chat or our Google instant messenger. It felt like we were coordinating just like we used to. That was a really cool way to stay connected and I think it’s a good way to stay connected even with teams within your own company. So whatever instant messenger feature you may have…I think some Microsoft programs and other email messaging programs also have instant messaging features. Which, I know people are kind of hesitant to use but they can be a really awesome tool for quick communication and to get a decision made fast or just say “Hi” in the morning and find out what someone is thinking about. Another low hanging fruit…something we all have and we’ve all got is cellphones. Whether it’s a smart phone or a dumb phone you probably have text messaging capability. I really have been trying to use text messaging a lot with my clients and also with potential clients as well as my safety colleagues because it seems like a really quick way to just kind of cut through the noise. Especially, when people are receiving hundreds of emails a day. A text message can get through a heck of a lot quicker than an email. I never use text messaging or email if something is very urgent. For that type of communication I always pick up the phone for a voice call. But, for things that are just kind of a quick “I’m thinking about this. What do you think about this?”, a text message can definitely get that message across very quickly and easily. So, instant messaging… take advantage of what your company may already have. Or you can use Facebook messaging, you can use Google, Gmail messaging, or G chat. I’m not even sure what they call it now? It might be Hang Outs. That’s a quick way to get some messaging in and then also text messaging is something we all have on our phones like I said…smart or dumb phones. Everyone has text messaging. Those are just some quick ways to check in with your team, check in with your colleagues, check in with former colleagues which you still value what they have to say and just a quick way to let people know that you’re still out there. And…to get their input on things. What are you using? Are you using devices beyond what I mentioned? Or are you using the devices that we all have and that we widely use? I’d like to hear from you!