Workforce Virtualization: Are You Ready?

The virtualization of the global workforce continues to gain momentum as traditional management practices and org structures can now limit the productivity and engagement of today’s already fully connected teams. Employers need to adapt to economic uncertainties and to the demands of today’s workforce while finding new ways to innovate and be sustainable.

Virtual organizations offer a lot of opportunity that is available to everyone today, including the competition. With the ongoing rise of temp, freelance and contract work, changing up your business model and redefining your organization is critical—if not inevitable—to continue to operate in today’s increasingly globalized workforce.

Adjusting to the Demands of the Workforce

With all of the new technologies available to collaborate and share information, it only makes sense that these same technologies made their way into the workforce.

By promoting productivity and efficiency, not only can performance be enhanced and measured, but workers also have the ability to log on and work from wherever, whenever. Companies that have incorporated work from home policies so employees can trim down their commuting time are keeping their personnel happier, more engaged and productive with the right controls in place.

The Value of the Org Chart

Any member of any team, needs to know how the company they are working in is organized, so they know who to go to for help making decisions based on who is in charge of what. Are job titles getting in the way of productivity and results? Small and agile dispersed teams that are optimally performing are now a competitive threat.

Org structures today needs to be responsive to the demands of today’s workforce that in a lot of cases is now no longer traditional in nature. Leveraging collaboration tools allows all members feel like they belong to a modern team.

New Methods from Management Needed

The digitalization of the workforce raises both new opportunities and challenges for managers that need to adapt to a new framework, requiring different approaches to employee engagement. The dynamics change when you can no longer encourage an employee to “move up.” Also producing high quality deliverables on time with a team you can’t physically see daily may require adjustment to how you monitor milestones or deliverables.

Teamwork can be fostered through well-defined objectives and through regular meetings that encourage brainstorming, strategic discussions and presenting. Periodical in person face-to-face meetings and engaging collaboration tools that allow you to share mini bios and personal pictures can help develop comrade from teams that do not regularly work together.

Working in different time zones can be a challenge, but a network of people linked together by projects and deliverables can deliver innovative products and services in sync with customers’ demands at any hour in a lot of cases.  Feedback, roles and responsibilities need to be communicated and can be done with a number of technologies offered in the market from Skype to Slack to private Facebook groups.

Productivity, Employee Empowerment, Scalability

Creating an on demand team allows you the flexibility to scale up and down and grow teams with the best talent no matter where they are while reducing overhead costs. Virtual teams need clear goals and objectives since they are working remotely and are measured by deliverables primarily.

The best opportunity lies in tapping into some of the best skills and talents to complete a project with efficiency whenever you need to! Virtual teams when managed properly, also deliver high quality work from empowered people. With the right tools and expectations set, virtual environments can actually improve engagement and communication between employees.

Outdated org chart frameworks are for those at the top still trying to make a complex system easier to understand than it truly is, posing a risk to the organization as it is failing to adapt with the realities of the market today.

Is it time for you to restructure some functions of your organization and take some of your teams virtual?

Eric Apps is CEO of Organimi, an online organizational chart tool.