The New Era of the Virtual Worker

November 4, 2011 - 0 Comments

Telecommuting isn’t really anything new – people have been doing it for many years. One thing that has changed, however, is the dramatic gain in popularity. More people than ever seem to be embracing the option of working remotely, and it’s setting the standard for the new in-demand work environment, writes Mashable Business’s Amy-Mae Elliott. Working parents like the telework option to balance work and personal life; metro area employees enjoy the break from hectic commutes; and, younger employees appreciate the workplace flexibility, according to the article.  Question is, are organizations ready to embrace the spike in demand for this growing trend?

Telecommuting has always been a tradeoff and riddled with compromise.  Sure, you miss out on that hour-long commute. But consider what you are giving up. Fewer personal connections with colleagues.   Limited face time with the boss. And then there’s the fear of out of sight, out of mind. Technology – including e-mail, IM, and mobile telephony – have helped over the years and have done a better job of keeping us in-touch. The new era, however, is about moving from in-touch to in-person.

Telepresence is a technology that does just that. It’s creating real-time, in-person experiences that can bring benefits to any worker’s life. With telepresence, supervisors can still have the personal contact with their direct reports, coworkers can still collaborate on presentations, and partners can still strategize without any logistical inconvenience demanded by driving or, even worse, contending with airport security. Our customers are already realizing these benefits, such as the Department of Defense who are one of many at the forefront of ushering in this new era. For our customers, the new era means no compromise.

As someone who manages a large team across several time zones, many of whom work virtually, I can say that telepresence has helped us build a top-notch team. I’m not limited to a talent pool of experts in a particular location.  I can have face time with my direct reports whenever I need it. And we have a mutual trust that can only be developed and nurtured by meeting in person. That’s something that phone conversations simply can’t accomplish.

Are you a virtual worker? If so, tell us your story and what your experiences have been.

In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.