On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy
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At its inception in 2001, PeopleG2 started out as an office-based company. However, in 2008, founder and chief executive Chris Dyer, decided to transition into a virtual company to accommodate a growing workforce and surmount challenging financial pressures introduced by the recession. According to Michelle Rafter, in “Employees told to go home – and work,” a small office in Brea, California remains for a handful of staff who value having a physical office. However, the rest of the staff, comprised of researchers, sales and customer service representatives, and administrative personnel, work as a virtual team.
This arrangement has worked out so well that Chris Dyer never looked back and, today, PeopleG2 serves as a testament to how companies can successfully switch from brick and mortar to virtual. Just recently, Flexjobs featured them in “26 Virtual Companies That Thrive on Remote Work.” How did Dyer and his team make such a successful transition?
As a member of Better Collaboration, a virtually-based consulting firm, I can attest that a number of challenges must be surmounted in order to form an effective virtual team. Some of the most significant challenges are accurately described by Lisa Duncan, co-founder of an immersive, picturesque virtual work environment called Flipside Workspace (see here). Informed by direct experience, Lisa also offers excellent tips for addressing them. Hence, I refer you to her post.
Much has been written about the value of using virtual teams from a variety of perspectives: IT, HR, and management. While each contemplate virtual teams from different angles, the authors typically reach this conclusion: the fast-paced global economy, the advancements in technological solutions, and the general acceptance of telecommuting have each contributed businesses using virtual teams to gain a competitive advantage.
But despite all of the blogposts on “10 Steps to Build Virtual Teams”, or the numerous “Virtual Team Guidebooks”, the truth is: forming and maintaining virtual teams can be hard. Slacking-off on attention to critical details can spiral quickly towards wasting everyone’s time.
As a virtually-based company, we do know a thing or two about forming virtual teams for success; but a recent experience in forming a virtual group was a humbling lesson, and excellent reminder, of what is important when gathering individuals who are geographically dispersed.
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The next Better Collaboration video conferencing event on strategies for driving virtual workers’ productivity is coming up! The information that will be presented is geared towards organization leaders who’re interested in learning about the best tools and practices for virtual work arrangements. This event will take place on Wednesday, January 15, 2014, 2:00pm-3:00pm Eastern Standard Time/11:00am-12:00pm Pacific Standard Time. To register, please visit the Better Collaboration Meetup site. Details regarding this event follow: Read more of this post
Previously, we explored cultural as well as psychological and sociological factors determining receptivity to telework implementation in various regions of the world. As you may have guessed, there are still more angles to explore. Here I’ll discuss some societal structures that impact telework adoption as outlined in Growing the Virtual Workplace: The Integrative Value Proposition for Telework by Alain Verbeke, Nathan Greidanus, and Laura Hambley with support from the recently published Remote: Office Not Required by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried. Read more of this post