Say the word 'virtual worker,' and more often than not, we think of employees working in another country or city. But the challenges of managing a person working out of another office building is the same as it is across the country or across time zones.
Employees are seeking the flexibility of working from home or have a need to be in a certain location for personal reasons. Employers seek to test the waters as they move to new geographies by posting a lone individual or by scattering a handful of people who can build a customer base without the organization investing in large overheads. This has led to an increasing number of virtual workers; and as organizations grow beyond the single office 'where it all began,' they need to train their leaders in managing virtual teams.
Even the smallest degrees of dispersion, such as working on different floors in the same building, can greatly affect the quality of collaboration. There is more frequent communication and trust in teams that can see each other without having to go to a different location. In a hyper-connected world, technology makes it easy for work to be done from any location. So it is not surprising that colleagues who work in two ends of the same office floor use technology to communicate as much as a team scattered across continents.
There are enough options to help the employee stay connected but what is often missing is the emotional connect of the employee with the leader, the team and even the organization. Without an emotional connect the virtual team member is no more than a faceless person operating somewhere. What is needed to manage your virtual employees is to ensure they have a share of mind, voice and the wallet.
Share of Mind: Do managers think of the virtual member as often as they do for the others who they see more often? Virtual employees often miss out on information because it was conveyed verbally.
Share of Voice: This ensures virtual team members are heard as much as those physically present in the meeting. This is where virtual employees typically lose out.
Share of Wallet: Virtual team members often get unfairly treated when their work is evaluated. The impact of their work is not adequately measured since they are not around as frequently to give updates about their achievements or challenges.
Read more about how to ensure that your virtual employees get adequate mind, voice and wallet share in this Economic Times article, 'Beam up to your virtual employees.'
Do your virtual employees get the same share of mind, voice and of wallet as your other employees? How are you ensuring that they are treated on par with other employees in every way?