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.” [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...]

How Long is email Going to Continue Destroying Our Productivity?

Six years I published a short thought piece called “Is email the Killer App – or the App to Kill?).

I suggested there that:

. . . for all its ease of use and low cost, email is clearly a good news/bad news phenomenon. In many respects email creates as many problems as it solves, and it may just be the wrong model for the kind of distributed but collaborative work (and life) that most of us lead today.


The more fundamental challenge is that email really works best as a one-time point-to-point communication medium (both one-to-one and one-to-many), while most of our communications (of all kinds) are actually events with a larger stream:  part of an ongoing dialogue with one or more individuals.

I was reminded of those perspectives several times over the past week as I read about Google’s announcement of the new Wave platform – and then watched the demo from the I/O conference (caution:  the full video lasts over 120 minutes, but you can get the essence of the concept, including a very impressive demo of Wave in action, in about 15 minutes).

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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...]

Charlie Grantham Invited to Join Citrix Online’s Worldwide Workplace Council

That’s good news for us, and for the future of work.

Charlie Grantham has been invited to join a newly-formed Worldwide Workplace Council being sponsored and hosted by Citrix Online. The full press release is here.

“As companies and individuals alike find they can work from anywhere, anytime, it will potentially affect every aspect of the work/life balance, along with the companies’ ability to slash costs and hire from anywhere,” said Brett Caine, general manager, Citrix Online.

[continue reading...]

Work Design Collaborative and Realcomm Team Up for Realcomm Summit 2009

Prescott, Arizona – April 21, 2009 Work Design Collaborative, LLC, is pleased to announce that we are partnering with Realcomm Conference Group, LLC, a global leader in providing education, information and networking opportunities for the commercial real estate industry, to present a work design summit at Realcomm 2009.

“The Future of Work | Mobile Workforce Summit” will be held Monday, June 22, 2009, from 1:00 to 5:00pm at the Chicago Hyatt Regency. [continue reading...]

Getting Real: Transforming the Workplace at SCAN Health

On April 2 Charlie Grantham, Diane Coles, and I delivered a presentation at the IFMA Industries Forum held in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Our major focus was on the economics of distributed work. We spoke first about the fundamental changes going on in the economy (familiar to anyone who visits here often, or is alive and breathing these days).

(The full presentation is posted online within this post; you can view it below the fold.)

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Commercial Real Estate isn’t Looking Very Good

Over the past several months almost all the attention in real estate has been focused on the residential market – foreclosures, sinking prices, and falling sales.

But now the tide is shifting towards the commercial side. That’s not really surprising, given the massive layoffs that so many organizations have been announcing – once people are gone, there’s a whole lot of empty offices. And the owners and lessees of that space are doing everything they can to reduce their real estate costs.

For example, here are the opening paragraphs from a front-page story in Thursday”s San Francisco Chronicle:

Commercial real estate market softens

Owners of several small commercial buildings in San Francisco already are behind on payments, and local industry observers are laying odds on which large property could be the first to be seized by a lender.

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Want to Jump-Start the Economy? Send Everyone Home

Well, maybe not that easy. But also not that surprising.

I just received a press release from Kate Lister and Tom Harnish of Undress4Success about a new telecommuting calculator and analysis they’ve just completed (Undress4Success is both their website and a new book due out within a week or two).

Here’s their lead:

San Diego, CA (USA), March 10, 2009—A new Telework Savings Calculator shows that U.S. companies alone could add over $260 billion a year to their bottom line, and consumers could collectively save $228 billion—that’s between $2,500 to $11,000 a year each. Uncle Sam could save another $14 billion. How? By sending people home.

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