How to Begin to Effect “Virtual Workforce Change” in Large Brick and Mortar Companies
by Pierre Coupet
Besides yourself, how many times have you heard someone complain or express frustration at their employer’s “virtual workforce” policy? As for myself, I have been getting an earful of these complaints over the past 15 years, and particularly much more so over the past 9 years. If you fall into that category of frustrated workers, I have just the right solution for you.
First and foremost, you need to take into consideration your employer’s valid concerns about a lack of accountability and productivity. These are real issues that need to be addressed. It’s possible that your employer may have at one time tried that before with disastrous consequences. I know that some of you may feel that you already have at home all the tools that you need to get your job done and that you are a very responsible and hard worker instead of some slacker who is going to abuse the system. And guess what? You may be 1000% right.
However, that being said, what a lot of–in fact, too many–people don’t realize is that working in a “virtual” or “virtual organization” environment really doesn’t have much to do with having the tools for being able to get on the internet. And believe it or not, lots of companies and executives have also found that out the hard way.
I know what your next question is: “If it is not about the technology and being a reliable employee, then what (the hell) is it about?”
Thank you for asking! And here is the answer: It’s all about whether that employee has the “virtual organization aptitude” to be able to adapt and thrive in a “virtual” or “virtual organization” environment. Absent that information, you’d be asking your employer “to roll the dice” and see what happens. Now put yourself in your employer’s shoes and imagine having to roll the dice for 100, 1000, or 10,000 employees who all want to be part of your company’s “virtual workforce.” After all, you can’t do it for one and not do it for others unless you have a pretty damn good reason. (I mean an objective instead of subjective reason.) This can’t be a decision based on “gut feelings” about one employee versus another.
Now that you completely understand your employer’s point of view and dilemma, you are in a better position to approach your employer and satisfy those concerns.
I’ve always felt that being proactive–not pushy or demanding–is the best policy for professionals who work for die-hard brick and mortar companies but want to begin to work in a virtual environment. The best way to do that is to gently request that your employer have you tested by an independent third party in order to determine your “Virtual Organization Aptitude Assessment” score.
If you score high on the test, the results will speak for themselves. You have freed your employer to make an informed decision and from any potential backlash from other employees who may resent the fact that you may be getting preferential treatment, etc.
If you get a low score, at least you will know what your deficiencies are. As well, you will be in a position to either address them or just leave things be. And most importantly, you won’t be resentful or spiteful at your boss for not accommodating you. Either way it goes, it will cost you nothing to find out and everybody wins!
About Author: Pierre Coupet, CEO & Q of Virtual Organization Management is the founder of Virtual Organization Management Institute (VOMI), VOMI Virtual Organization Academy, and Virtual Organization Recruiter; and is also the founder of the modern virtual organization management discipline and virtual organization recruitment discipline pioneered since 1997. Contact directly at firstname.lastname@example.org