5 tips for succeeding with a virtual workforce

Ensuring team effectiveness in a global virtual environment takes great communications skills and a willingness to understand different cultures. Here’s how one company gets the most out of its global virtual teams.

With the rise of technology, the availability of instant communication and collaboration tools that bring the virtual world into the boardroom, the face of the modern office is rapidly changing. According Gallup's most recent Work and Education poll, 37 percent of U.S. workers say they have telecommuted. And with GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com reporting that at least half of all jobs in the U.S. lend themselves to telecommuting that number is likely to continue to rise. Already, in Fortune 1000 companies, increasingly mobile employees “are not at their desk 50-60 percent of the time,” according to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com.

Whether you love or hate the concept of telecommuting, the trend is clearly here to stay. A 2014 survey of business leaders at the Global Leadership Summit in London found that 34 percent of business leaders believe that more than half of their workforce will be remote as soon as 2020.

Why this trend toward remote work? It's simple: economics.

GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com findings indicate that savings to employees, business owners and the economy can be significant when employees work from home at least half time. Reported savings to businesses average about $11,000 annually per remote employee. Employees also benefit and typically save anywhere from $2,000 to $7,000 annually. Furthermore, if only half of employees with jobs conducive to working remotely did so just half the time, U.S. annual savings could top more than $700 billion.

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