Remote Locations Difficult To Manage

Network World reports on the difficulties faced by offsite workers and their managers.

IBM’s efforts to create a flexible work environment have been so successful that 40% of its 330,000 employees work from home, on the road, or at a client location on any given day. But a few years ago, the company realized that as its staff became more distributed, employee morale was weakening.
In the region Dan Pelino inherited in 2002, barely half of IBM workers surveyed by the company said they thought morale was good. Employees felt they lacked a strong connection to their peers, they were missing out on mentoring relationships, and institutional knowledge wasn’t being passed down within the company, says Pelino, who today is general manager of IBM’s global healthcare and life sciences business. Internally, employees joked that “IBM” stood for “I’m by myself,” he recalls.
The predicament IBM faced is common among companies that strive to provide nontraditional work arrangements. How do you offer flexibility without sacrificing corporate culture?

The article goes on to offer some potential team-building solutions, but I’m wondering if you have any direct insight into this issue that you’d care to share.

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About David Burn

Native Nebraskan in the Pacific Northwest. Chief Storyteller at Bonehook, a guide service and bait shop for brands. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. Contributor to The Content Strategist. Doer of the things written about herein.

  • http://www.bullshitobserver.com todd

    Typing this from a cafe in San Francisco on a Friday…
    The idea is flexibility and balance. Not all one or the other. I wfh one day a week but would like to wfh two days a week. That would be perfect.

  • http://marketingcanapes.vox.com Jim Lane

    Funny, International Business 101 has taught for years and years that the more remote a site and the more disparate the local culture is from the worker’s norm, the more essential it is that communications between units be amped up. Not only that, if it cannot be accomplished asynchronously, then you should do a good part of that communications in their time frame, not just the HQs.