Virtual workers struggle with invisibility. They are concerned that what they do is not seen or recognized by the organization’s leadership. Does management know how hard I’m working? How do I know what is really going on because no one tells me anything? They often feel like they are out of sight, out of mind and out of touch. Virtual workers also struggle with finding their “off” button. A com-mon complaint is “I feel like I am always on. I am al-ways working.” They lack boundaries, both personal and professional, and often feel like they are being exploited. But more importantly they don’t feel like they are part of the club. Organizations are current-ly not very likely to support virtual workers in a way that strengthens them as individuals or as productive performers within the organization.
Value is created in the virtual workplace by offering both flexibility and strong support. Employ-ees need to be given the freedom and the power to run their own show, to create the balance between their work commitments and their personal lives. Management needs to communicate clearly the business objectives that must be met and provide the road map to get there. Expectations need to be more clearly defined, check-ins more frequent, and collaboration more regular. This lowers risk of stress on the individual. It allows fear to dissolve and creativity and innovation to flourish.
True value is developed through encouraging and supporting innovation and creativity. Creativity and innovation are only fostered when the mission is transparent and the communication and expecttions are clear. Creativity has a much better chance of thriving in a diverse and global environment. The organization wants to support this talent by developing the skills that give virtual workers the re-sources to explore a global range of challenges and perspectives.
Working virtually means both the worker and the organization need to develop a different set of core skills. Working in the virtual environment means greater freedom, and with greater freedom comes more responsibility. The ability to act with autonomy and self-manage is only one part of the skill set. Workers also need to be able to set and enact priorities, be authentically productive, make responsible choices and align connections (Baggio, 2014) Virtual workers need the confidence and self-reliance to overcome obstacles, the self-discipline and personal project management skills to get work done on time and contribute their expertise. But the organization needs to get involved in this process also.
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