Virtual Work and Personality Types

If you are at all interested in flexible/mobile work, you may find this new article by Michelle Conlin of Business Week worth reading (“Is There a Virtual Worker Personality?

Michelle is an excellent writer about the world of work, with a deep interest in flexible/remote work and all its implications. She was the author of another BW article back in late March describing how telecommuting was shifting from being an employee perk to a corporate imperative (“Telecommuting:  Once a Perk, Now a Necessity“).

I blogged about that article here, and added some additional perspectives on our experiences at SCAN Health, the company featured in Michelle’s article (there’s also an even more-detailed description of the SCAN story in this post).

But back to work styles. This latest article highlights the interaction between working remotely and personality type. Her conclusion:  introverts have serious difficulties working out of the office (no real surprise – that’s a perspective that Charlie Grantham and I have been suggesting for years).  She’s got some good anecdotal data, and even cites a more formal study of several hundred mobile workers at Cisco Systems.

Five years into the mainstreaming of mobile work, there’s a growing enlightenment, buttressed by new research, that the benefits of working remotely are actually a bit more complicated, and nuanced, than the cheerleaders said. In all the effusive rah-rah’ing over this great employee unleashing, many managers overlooked a simple fact:  Some of us are simply not—by temperament, psychology, or personality type—wired for the life of the digital nomad.

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Iran is All A-Twitter

We’re all caught up this week in the eruption of demonstrations in Iran. While I don’t usually comment here on political activities, it’s important that we all pay attention not just to the unrest itself, but to the way technology is not only enabling but even intensifying the “revolution” that is unfolding before our eyes.

The mainstream media has already picked up on this theme:   “The revolution won’t be televised; it will be Twittered.” Given how many mainstream journalists have been ejected from Iran, and the ban on professional photographers and videographers, the amount of information we’re nevertheless getting is staggering. [continue reading...]

A First-Person Account of the Virtual Life

Carter Rankin has once again alerted me to another great story about what it’s like to live in a truly distributed work environment.

Check out this very personal note from John Halamka, MD, MS, Chief Information Officer of the CareGroup Health System and CIO and Dean for Technology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts (“Being There, Virtually“).

Dr. [continue reading...]

More Thoughts on the Value of Presence

I seem to be inundated these days with articles and blog posts about the differences between “being there” and interacting with people remotely.

Just yesterday I blogged about the story in last Sunday’s New York Times about the continuing importance of face-to-face interaction (“Place Still Matters – A Lot“).

And now I want to refer you to a recent article in Impact Magazine (a publication produced by OM Workspace, the contract furniture division of OfficeMax).

The article (“Face to Face: Design and Technology for Collaboration“), by Elizabeth Hockerman, explores an important but all-too-often unasked question:

Mobile technology provides untethered freedom. So why do millions of people still partake in the dreaded rush-hour commute to work?

The answer, of course, is that they want to be with other people – and there’s still an almost-universal gut sense that face-to-face communication is still more powerful than “virtual” meetings, even with the increasingly powerful collaboration tools now available (there’s also the harsh reality that lots of those people would work remotely if their employers would let them, but that’s another story altogether).

Ms. Hockerman quoted one “expert” on the subject:

“The main reason people go to the corporate office is to be with other people,” says James Ware, executive producer of The Work Design Collaborative LLC, based in Prescott, Ariz. “There is a tremendous power in face-to-face meetings. Same-time, same-place can spark a powerful source of collaborative innovation and meaning for people.”

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Place Still Matters – A Lot

Carter Rankin of Connections Biz Cafe alerted me to an important article in yesterday’s (June 14, 2009)  New York Times (Location, Location:  It Still Pays to be Near“).

The essential idea in the article (prepared by Leslie Berlin) is simple but incredibly important:  in an age of global information access and interaction, face-to-face contact remains incredibly important.

Aspiring editors still move to New York, home to a huge share of the nation’s trade publishers.

[continue reading...]

Twittering Matters

There’s an intriguing new article about Twitter and how it’s affecting corporate cultures and reputations in the June 1 issue of Business Week (“Managing the Tweets” – the online version is titled “Web 2.0: Managing Corporate Reputations“).

Here’s the essence of the article (written by our friend Michelle Conlin and her colleague Douglas Macmillan):

Social networking is a love-hate relationship. On the one hand managers want their workers to experiment so they can cultivate new-world skills. Employees as brand ambassadors! Products virally transformed into overnight hits! On the other hand, bosses are filled with foreboding about social networking’s dark side—losing secrets to rivals, the corporate embarrassment of errant employee tweets, becoming the latest victim of a venomous crowd.

Read it; the full article includes a number of very specific stories about individual companies and their employees – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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Let’s Keep Technology in Perspective

. . .  and use it appropriately.

On this national holiday in the United States – Memorial Day – we are all reminded of, and thinking of, our military veterans and active-duty soldiers, sailors, pilots, and marines. We have to be incredibly grateful for their service.

Before today I took some comfort in knowing that technology enabled distant warriors to stay much closer to their loved ones that ever before. [continue reading...]

Doing Business Anywhere, Anytime

As previously announced, Charlie Grantham and I were featured in a webinar yesterday that was hosted by PC Magazine and sponsored by Citrix Online. Michael Krieger represented PC Magazine and acted as moderator. We were also joined by Eric Bensley of Citrix Online.

The topic was “Corporate Agility: Doing Business Anywhere, Anytime.” A recording of the webinar, including both our slides and our voiceover, is available at this link (it will open in Windows Media Player). [continue reading...]

Recession-Proofing against the Uncertainties of Today’s Job Market

[This post was submitted by Jonathon Papp of CSN Stores]

One major characteristic of the current economic crisis is the large number of layoffs that are occurring. Traditionally during recessionary times layoffs were not nearly as widespread, and when they did occur they were generally restricted to manufacturing jobs and other sectors that could easily be outsourced.

White-Collar jobs were mostly left intact, because most companies were afraid that those jobs would be difficult to replace once the economy rebounded. However, these days even the largest and most successful corporations are willing to take that risk because the current credit liquidity crisis makes it more important than ever to cut costs, and layoffs are unfortunately seen as the most direct way of doing so.

So this brings up the important question: is there any way to “recession-proof” a career?

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Register Now for Our Free May 12 Webinar on Corporate Agility

We are pleased to announce that on Wednesday, May 12, we (Charlie Grantham and I) will be delivering a one-hour free webinar called “Corporate Agility:  Working Anywhere, Anytime.”

You can read about the webinar at this link on PC Magazine’s website, and register there as well. The webinar is sponsored by our friends and long-term clients at Citrix Online, and will include Eric Bensley of Citrix. [continue reading...]