What is worksharing?

by | Jun 25, 2017 | Blog

Modern worksharing systems; Can you afford to be left behind?

Anyone familiar with 12d Solutions, 12d Synergy or 12d Model would have heard the team refer to worksharing and collaborating.  But what is worksharing? And why should you care?

Traditionally worksharing could be considered a dirty word to the average employee.  The aim of the original worksharing theory was to limit unemployment growth during recessions. In a nutshell, worksharing was a method to reduce operating costs without the need to lay off employees by merging roles.

Despite the goal being to keep more staff on board, the worksharing process was often met with mixed emotions. Your average worker would share a role with another staff member, naturally, reduced work meant reduced pay, and as a result workers would have to adjust their personal and professional lifestyles to suit.

At its core, the old theory of worksharing within the AEC space still remains true.  The motivation behind creating a shared work environment is to reduce overhead.  One thing that has changed is how it should be perceived, the team in the modern workplace should embrace this setting.  The average employee now can experience a flexible working environment, as a result they should see more opportunities opening up as their physical location becomes less relevant.

Challenges such as a geographically disperse talent pool, the requirement to uphold standards and procedures, large data files and the risk of data corruption all needed to be addressed before the industry could adopt such systems.  For a long time worksharing in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction industry simply wasn’t an option as generic business solutions proved to be impractical.

As time has passed, with the development of technology and software, these concerns can now be laid to rest.  Products like 12d Synergy provide a platform to enable worksharing between offices in this industry.  Procedures and access are all controlled by the standards set by the internal administrator of the system.  Features such as 12d Synergy’s intelligent data transfer tool and version control, rule out the risk of data corruption, or the simple mistake of working on, or issuing the wrong copy of any file related to the job.

Why consider implementing worksharing procedures?

The motive behind this usually boils down to a few benefits.  The ability to leverage specialist skills from regional offices, provide the ability for organisations to share the workload between offices during high and low periods, and to provide the platform for staff to work out of the office as needed.  The results 12d clients have seen include a dramatic decrease in expenses relating to relocating staff and general administrative duties, as well as an improved morale in a more flexible working environment.

The benefits of worksharing include:
  • – Distributing resources as required
  • – Leveraging specialist skills from a geographically dispersed workforce
  • – Reduce Travel costs and Relocation Costs
  • – Improve work life balance

Distributing Resources as Required

Readers who are currently working in a multi-state consultancy can appreciate the light and shade of the Australian marketplace.  Economies in different states, even different regions are currently having diverse experiences.

From the year 2000 leading up to 2012 the price of Australian mining exports grew by 300%.  This rapid growth created a skills shortage in these areas beyond just the mining industry.  The demand for land development, infrastructure, rail, ports and highways grew.  Many members of the industry relocated to these mining hot-spots to take advantage of these opportunities.

Fast forward to 2017, while the mining boom is winding down, the infrastructure boom in New South Wales and Victoria continues to grow, particularly around metropolitan areas.  The demand for infrastructure in Sydney has created a skills shortage resulting in a wage growth of around 25% in recent years.

How do we supply this skills shortage in a cost-effective way?
The options include relocating the required staff to where their skills are required, contracting a designer into the job at the inflated price, or implement modern worksharing systems.

With a system that enables worksharing, the load of work can be distributed between offices within the organisation.  As many of you can appreciate there is only so much work the team can take on, worksharing systems provide you with the required environment to push beyond this threshold.  So, while your Sydney or Melbourne office may be feeling the strain of increased workloads and upcoming deadlines, the heavy lifting can be shared across the organisation by engaging a quieter office in the project.  The end result is a more balanced workforce operating at their peak efficiency.

Leverage Specialist Skills

Let’s say there is a small project team working on a dam in Tasmania.  The team would share documents, data and lean on each other to get the project completed.  A dam project would most likely require some 2d modelling but, what if there aren’t any 2d modellers in the office?

The traditional process would require the 2d modeller to temporarily relocate or fly-in-fly-out as required.

On the business side of things this process is an expensive burden on the project budget.  The relocation and fly-in-fly-out process also has a dramatic affect on the work-life balance of team members, this is especially felt by those with families.

With modern technology and processes put in place, there is no need for this team member to physically be in the office in Tasmania.  With the appropriate systems, the project can leverage specialist skills regardless of their physical location, they can collaborate with the team in Tasmania as if they were physically there but return home every day.

Red magnet


Mitch helps engineering and construction teams achieve success through the adoption of world class common data environments. Mitch joined 12d Synergy in 2017 and now champions our growth across Australia. Mitch helps engineering and construction teams achieve success through the adoption of world class common data environments. Mitch is also a sports fanatic and self-confessed cricket tragic.