Leading, Building, and Sustaining Virtual Teams

Two experts offer key strategies and best practices for mobile workforce management.

By 2011, the number of worldwide mobile workers— employees who spend ten or more hours a week away at home on the road, or moving within a corporate setting—will reach one billion. 

With this decentralization of the workplace, will come the rise of the “mobile workforce”—everywhere and anywhere people work:  In hospitals, where hospital staff, roam the halls and are only reachable via mobile device; at home, where people will take advantage of growing flexible work schedule options; anywhere global entrepreneurs need to meet clients wherever they may be; or any place that drivers, sales reps, insurers, pilots, consultants, educators need to be.

MANAGING THE MOBILE WORKFORCE: Hire, Train and Retrain a Productive, Collaborative Staff in an Office-Free World offers managers and business leaders a needed resource on best practices for crafting, maintaining, and sustaining a healthy, highly motivating work environment—even for employees that work in decentralized settings.  Co-authored by a top-rated designer of solutions for the enterprise mobile workforce, and a leading educator in the fast-growing field of organizational learning, the book brings readers cutting-edge strategies and solutions for giving office-free employees the support and means they need to deliver results.

Through in-depth interviews with 40 leaders of organizations ranging from small entrepreneurial start-to state governments to Fortune 500 corporations,—including the State of Arizona, KPMG, Citrix and Sprint—Clemons and Kroth learned the best practices and most common pitfalls. What emerged from these discussions was that leadership and strategy, and not technology, was the chief barrier to success for the mobile workforce.

The upshot: Managers must simultaneously inform mobile employees of new initiatives, keep them engaged, and provide them with the best possible tools to complement the competitive direction and mission plan of the organization. They must also set up parameters that will permit mobile workers to be responsive and responsible—all without making them feel like they’re on call 24/7.  The smart manager will understand both the benefits and drawbacks of using technology’s elasticity and how to gauge the mobile worker’s styles and needs.

A mobile workforce is a continuously learning one, and therefore one with a built-in edge for becoming more agile, opportunistic, creative, collaborative, and open to change. MANAGING THE MOBILE WORKFORCE is the blueprint that connected 21st century organizations need to get the fullest advantage from the many, diverse sources of its strength.

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