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9.2 Action Required: (Knowledge Application)

This activity is important because virtual employees are increasingly considered a normal part of the workforce. Virtual teams have their own special challenges as well as benefits. Managers should know how to promote teamwork and effective work processes in a virtual environment.

The goal of this exercise is to demonstrate your understanding of teams, particularly in virtual environments, by reading a case and answering questions that follow.

Case Analysis (Remote Work Is Thriving at Dell)

Dell Technologies is considered one of the most progressive companies in the world for remote workforces. The company, which develops, sells and supports computers, was valued in 2019 at more than $36 billion and employs more than 150,000 workers worldwide. Check out the Dell career webpage that is devoted to flexible job opportunities and you’ll see the company’s pride in employees being able to choose “the work style that best fulfills their needs on the job and in their personal lives.”

Dell reports that its remote teams are as productive, if not more, versus in-person teams. The company uses team technology to connect with chats, content sharing and video conference calls. Video is credited as extremely important in engaging team members, including on executive teams. In fact, the company states that its remote team members are four times as likely to be engaged at work and two times as likely to want to stay at their current jobs.

Slack in one program was employed to facilitate collaboration with a centralized space for teams to work. Adobe Connect allows creation of information like training manuals and presentations in addition to conferencing. Skype is a go-to video conferencing software for many who work from their laptops, as well. In short, the market offers many ways for teams to collaborate virtually and maintain the ability to self-manage. Furthermore, the programs allow for highly complex team projects that can be more productive remotely when sharing documents, simulations and conducting real-time analysis.

Dell uses an extremely high level of ongoing connectiveness with coworkers, such as intra-company social media and chats. The ability to “follow” and chat with team members allows for solving issues that arise infrequently and unexpectedly. Finding and gathering your team can even be easier with remote work than in person because everyone is connected.

Due to Dell’s use of a remote workforce since 2009, the company estimates it has saved $12 million in fuel costs, not to mention the associated environmental benefits.

The future gets more remote for Dell. The company now plans that by 2020, employee global participation in remote work options will increase to 50% of its workforce.

9.3 Test your knowledge:(Questions)

1. This type of team can be very effective remotely because the members are working in their normal jobs and only come together when there is an issue.

2. What does Dell credit as being a critical factor to engagement in remote team meetings?


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