Friday, October 14, 2011

Virtual Work: Increasing, but a Necessary Evil?

In December 2010, Brandman University had Forrester Research conduct a survey of 135 senior leaders and hiring managers in some of Americas Fortune 500 companies.  These were supplemented by a series of telephone interviews in January 2011. The survey report is called Virtual Work Environments in the Post-Recession Era:

Here are a few data points:

·         56% of hiring managers expect that virtual teaming will steadily or greatly increase in their company

·         61% said their company will allow more people to telecommute or work from home in the next 3 years

In terms of the challenges faced by virtual team managers:

·         57% said building trust among employees

·         49% said communicating effectively

·         43% said managing projects and deadlines with employees not physically present

To be effective, virtual workers need:

·         61% said solid communication skills

·         53% said an ability to self-pace and work independently

·         51% said taking accountability for their own work

The primary motivations for the increase in virtual teaming and working are:

·         61% said cost containment

·         59% said recruitment
While the majority of leaders and managers believe that virtual working will increase, it tends to be seen as a ‘necessary evil’.  Many see virtual collaboration as a barrier to worker accountability, creativity, and innovation.

Whenever I hear the term ‘necessary evil’ in business it usually means there is too much management (push) and not enough leadership (pull).  Do we have to wait for a new generation to trigger a management revolution?

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