Disadvantages of Virtual Workplace

“Not only is work becoming seamless as it moves between home, office, and phone, but it also is becoming endless as it rolls through a 24 hour day” (Power Gizmos, 1997) The virtual workplace may have added greater flexibility and increased benefits in terms of employee productivity and lower costs, but the employee is subjected to greater work pressure with deadlines and milestones to be met as per varying time zones. This requires them to work at odd hours in order to meet specified timelines.
While the concept has given reprieve to many employees who find working from home both convenient and attractive allowing them more time to pursue other interests, many are not so open to the idea. These groups of people are averse to being staying at home away from the office environment. They like to travel to work everyday and working from the confines of their work cubicles. The feeling of isolation that the virtual workplace emits is a serious drawback.
An individual can feel depressed and stressed out if he is working alone with limited scope to meet colleagues and friends. They feel deprived of the social circle and human interaction that a normal office environment provides. A survey conducted by the Futurestep, a subsidiary of Korn Ferry International reveals that almost 61 percent of global business executives think that telecommuters are less likely to advance in their careers, compared with employees in traditional office setting.

(Business week publication, Feb 2007) Moreover, virtual workplaces are not suitable for all types of jobs. Jobs in sales, marketing, and consulting are ideally suited for such work environment where the global technology medium can provide increased outreach to prospective customers and clients enabling efficient diffusion of knowledge and information. Another area of concern posed by this form of work environment is the security of applications, transactions, personal and organizational data, and privileged information.
The virtual workplace presents distinct security problems with low level of control over the employee movements. The organizations and businesses need to resolve this issue and promote the virtual workplace concept without compromising on security issues. Virtual workplace does promote productivity and greater job satisfaction but the organizations face distinct challenge in managing and leading virtual workers over the cyberspace.
Effective communication that can draw employee trust in a remote work environment poses distinct limitations. The managers are faced with the difficult task of drawing team coordination and cooperation over impersonal mediums of communication. The meetings and interactions in the virtual workspace lack the physical presence and as such facial expressions, body language, and communicative gestures do not play a significant role in conveying individual thoughts.
The loss of communication between co-workers and lack of non-verbal cues that constitute facial expression and body language directly correlates to incomplete communication process. This can lead to misinterpretations and incorrect assumptions that can presume further complexities in the work front. It is clearly indicative of the fact that face to face meetings are more effective means of communication that develops trust and respect for fellow workers and managers. Read about Factors that Hinder Effective Communication

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