What Does the Virtual Organization Look Like?
There is always something new to learn, you will never know everything you need to know. Management has the challenge of training those folks that are already part of the organization plus the challenge of training the newcomers. Not everyone can do it and not every organization is ready for what is transpiring. One of the characteristics of success for the PJ Effect is openness and the ability to align connections. The Director of the Center for e-business at MIT indicated in an interview that openness is an important cultural trait for any business in the digital workplace (13).
Because the organization itself is getting flatter, few middle managers have survived in the new workplace. So now there is more to do and less people to do it, but no intention by companies of hiring or resurrecting that management hierarchy ever again. You are forced to be more autonomous, often realizing that only you are responsible for your jobs and careers. Many organizations believe it has become more effective to hire just in time consultants instead of full time workers. Micro workers, consultants and experts and telecommuters are the workforce for the 21st century. The dynamics of this can be detrimental unless leadership understands how the consultants will be able to fit and work remotely to accomplish the given task.
The collaborative abilities of virtual workers are paramount in the new distributed environment, but collaboration in most cases is not strength of group members. The presence and awareness that was available to you in a physical environment vanishes in the virtual world. This is usually replaced with some version of the groupware or social networking tools currently available. The actual environment where work takes place is left up to you the PJ worker, your home life or your default location.
As of 2008 an estimated 8.4 million workers were members of virtual teams (14). Not only will these numbers continue to escalate, but also will the challenges. The stress and problems these individuals face are often underestimated, and so are the set backs for leadership and the organization as a whole. These challenges include communicating and coordinating efforts across time and space, interpersonal relationships, knowledge and trust. Working toward a common goal is more complicated when you work with colleagues from different backgrounds, viewpoints and cultures. This is already difficult when you live in the same country, let alone when you live on separate continents. #VirtualWork #PJEffect #RemoteWork