Virtual Work

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The recent increase in “virtual workplaces” in our society is an exciting development that may change how people understand the typical work atmosphere. When considering the average work environment, many envision a plain office building filled with cubicles and employees in corporate casual attire. Since technology has advanced to the point where people can effectively communicate in ways besides the archaic board meeting on Monday morning, the typical work environment is able to be transformed into something far less traditional.

Many kinds of consultants in business have previously spent much of their work hours traveling to companies across the country or world. The new advancements in communication including resources like Skype, Facebook, and Twitter allow for many of the same exchanges that would normally occur in a meeting within an office setting that now can occur within several employees’ homes with the use of video calls.

The article by Cascio (2000) explains some of the benefits and drawbacks of this virtual shift. Among the benefits are an improved work-life balance due to the fact that many jobs can now be performed from within an employee’s home. Cascio also mentions that this shift of employees working from home can save companies thousands of dollars in office space that is no longer necessary to maintain or even own.

The disadvantages to this style of communication, however include the ways in which we understand each other. That is, in an email or phone based interaction, many subtle nuances of body language and facial expression can be lost. At present, this would be a large issue for effective an complete communication but I believe as this method of communication becomes more popular, so will employees’ skill at picking up subtle language cues by new means.

References:

Cascio, W.F. (2000). Managing a virtual workplace. Academy of management executive,
14, 81-90.

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