How to Fully Embed Virtuality in the Workplace for Success

January 18, 2018

The world of work is an ever-changing environment. One of the changes sweeping nearly all workplaces and industries is the move toward virtual work. We might recall news headlines of the pioneers of the “remote work” movement who early on cleared their physical locations to give way for employees to work from anywhere in the world.

New headlines continue to highlight such innovations. Take, for instance, Cisco, who announced earlier this year that their new employee flexible work program has resulted in $490 million dollars of fiscal savings as well as increased employee satisfaction and talent retention.

Today more than ever, virtuality affects the workplace far more directly, frequently, and across industries; we must move beyond accommodating virtual work episodically and into embedding it systematically for our organizations to repeat success in a new virtual working environment. Let’s look at some of the facts.

The Landscape

The number of employees who work remotely is on the rise. 

The number of companies that offer remote work is on the rise.

Virtual collaboration is on the rise (even for companies that do not embrace remote work).

The Result?

A threefold result is evident for the American workplace. First, there is increased proliferation of organizations and industries who use and rely on remote workers to work as part of a virtual team to achieve results. Virtual teams have become a go-to model for getting work done.

Second, there is increased personal flexibility in the job market to work within a desired job or industry, from anywhere. This flexibility swings both ways, giving employees and organizations greater choice in matching talent to work regardless of geographical boundary.

Third, there is a growing move toward virtual work conditions and virtual collaboration, even in fully co-located and on-site teams. Evidently, it is becoming more critical than ever for the American workforce to innovate its approach to work. 

The Challenge

While much attention is given to companies keeping pace with technological innovation, the availability of technology for virtual work is only one part of the virtual collaboration picture. It is pressing for nearly all types of organizations and industries to consider the following questions, and, more importantly, the implications of their answers: 

The space and place of work has changed, perhaps forever, giving way to virtual channels for how employees communicate, collaborate, and get work done.

Our task ahead is to help our employees and organizations thrive with the knowledge, skills, abilities, and support systems to successfully innovate not only what we do, but also how we do it. 

Rachel Cubas-Wilkinson, Ph.D., is a senior consultant for The Myers-Briggs Company, and a certified MBTI, FIRO, and CPI 260 practitioner. She is passionate about people development, self-awareness, and leadership, and specializes in planning, strategy, and learning for people and organizations. She has more than 15 years’ experience in roles that include teaching, leading, and consulting, and has worked across industries and in multiple geographies including higher education, corporate, and nonprofit organizations within the United States and abroad.

Rachel holds a doctorate in transformational leadership and change, as well as a master’s degree in leadership with a graduate concentration in adult learning methods and instruction. She also served as a founding board member of the Peter F. Drucker Society Global Network, South Florida chapter. 

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