Lynda Gratton blogs in HBR about Virtual Working

Lynda Gratton blogs in HBR about Virtual WorkingLynda Gratton, Tammy Johns and the Harvard Business Review identify three major waves of change over the past 30 years. Employers and workers have converged on new arrangements for getting knowledge work done. First, home computers and e-mail spawned an army of freelancers, offering both workers and employers new flexibility to work from home. Next, mobile technology and global teamwork gave the same kind of work-anywhere, work-anytime flexibility to full-time employees, without asking them to forsake career progress and development within their companies. Now, in a third wave, new ways of providing community and shared space are curing a side effect of virtualisation—worker isolation—and driving increased collaboration.

The authors write that to make the most of this third wave of change, employers should rethink the contract they forge with workers. Five fundamental aspects of knowledge work require fresh thinking: the value of the relationship with a larger enterprise; the settings in which work is done; the organization of workflows and how individual contributors add value; the technologies used to support higher achievement; and the degree to which employment arrangements are tailored to individuals.

The three waves of transformation surge forward at differing velocities across sectors and geographies and mix together in societies. Understanding how your business participates in each wave will help you make wise decisions about technology, work models, talent sources, and people practices.

Arise are a great example of taking that to the next level and specifically matching the talent and skills of entrepreneurs directly with businesses that need them. Its been a long time coming but people are finally waking up to the fact that the talent is out there – you just need to think more laterally about how you access it for your business.  Arise have already developed sophisticated sourcing capability pioneering access to the right talent regardless of where it is geographically located which means you can already start to take advantage of this growing trend of homeshoring.

David Cartwright, Arise CEO for EMEA highlighted, “Are you the kind of organisation who wants to have total discretion over what resources you have supporting your customers, what skills, languages and demographics they have, available only when you need them……then the work at home or virtual model is for you ?”

If you think about the rate of technology change, it is not a surprise to learn that what Lynda Gratton and Mary Meeker from KPCB are now beginning to espouse what is already being pioneered by companies like Arise. Mary for example talks about how, in the last 20 years we have re-imagined many aspects of our lives as illustrated here

It is no surprise then that companies like Arise are finally being seen as the pioneers of virtual working as they are delivering “workforce as a service” and providing such tailored services as virtual diabetic advisors to service diabetic patients. How much more empathetic and skilled must they be as professionals who have the same illness as their customers. This isn’t the future – these services are not only available now but are beginning to be used in ernest.

Take a look at Lynda Gratton’s HBR article and video.