All the conversation around Yahoo’s return to the old-fashioned way of working in an office is enough to make one consider how the telecommuting workforce in your company is performing. After all, out of sight means they can do what they want, when they want.
As we discussed in our previous blog post on Virtualpreneurs™, it’s not where they work but who you hire. But even the most dedicated, professionally mature individual will struggle without the correct virtual infrastructure. Before considering a radical, and potentially costly, move of returning your entire workforce to a cube, evaluate your virtual work strategy.
A corollary to the New World of Work is the new world of management. If you want to take advantage of the fractionalized work and global talent reach afforded by this new world of work, it is time to rethink your internal processes – both technical and managerial.
Step 1 – Set Up the Virtual Management Team
The most effective virtual workforces are combined as a cohesive unit. Rather than have a single individual or even small team that manages technology, think about the type of internal resources the virtual team needs. For example, consider assembling an outsource liaison team consisting of key people who have major impact over the virtual environment, including:
Step 2 – Outline Appropriate Roles
These people, or teams depending upon the size of the virtual team supported, focus on creating a positive virtual environment that encompasses the technology needed to be productive, project management to stay on task and program management to ensure alignment with company goals. Each role has specific tasks to ensure the virtual environment is friendly, easy to use and effective.
Another important role for the technology management team is to design or acquire cloud technology that supports collaboration, communication and effective interaction. Virtual teams can easily work together with the right technology in place.
The reality is that this team will create an environment that is friendly for the new world of work contractors.
Step 3 – Revise Your Thinking
To embrace the new world of work requires a fundamental shift at the top. Contractors are not to be used and thrown out. Now they will be an integral part of a major deliverable and will need to be provided an environment in which they can thrive.
The trick is to create this environment without crossing the lines of contractor versus employee. By creating a specialized team with the primary role of serving the contractor and virtualpreneur community, your organization will create a friendly, effective, productive environment that rewards these high-producers with what they want most – freedom and to be taken seriously.
Developing a solid virtual strategy ensures consistent productivity, less interruptions and high levels of service. It also provides companies who embrace this strategy with a strong competitive advantage. So, to make telecommuters, virtual workers and contractors truly effective, rethink your virtual work strategy. Don’t send them back to the cube.
For more tips on making the most of the new world of work, visit www.newworldofwork.com. Learn more about our new book, The New World of Work: From Cube to the Cloud.