Work in an Office? Not Virtualpreneurs™

March 5, 2013
Terri Maxwell

Work in an Office? Not Virtualpreneurs™

Unless you have been under a rock, you are quite familiar with Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s recent ban on working from home. And you are quite familiar with the various opinions on the subject. So it really begs the question – is there a good answer?

We say yes, and it starts with understanding the changing landscape brought on by the New World of Work.

Foundation of this Revolution

We have said this before, but in light of Yahoo’s move, it bears repeating:

Work is Fractionalized 

We are not going back. Finding jobs means maximizing your skills in the new marketplace through the fractionalization of work

Careers are Virtualized

The new marketplace means using global talent through virtual technology to create the best team. It’s how companies will find a competitive edge going forward.

Talent is Globalized

Why recruit from your backyard when it limits your access to great talent? Most companies have realized that finding talent requires recruiting outside the company borders (something Marissa Mayer will soon discover).

The reality is that all the smart, motivated self-starters that companies dream of hiring are looking for something different. Freedom is the new currency, so these people are primed and ready to work on their own.

Inside the Office is No Guarantee

There are still folks who believe that you cannot have real productivity and creativity if people are not inside an office. Since Mayer’s ban was leaked, several Yahoo employees came forward to talk about how the telecommuting within that company was not managed well and is probably a contributing factor to the decision. However, managing people inside a large, or even small, corporation by using the “we can see you so you must be working” thought process is no guarantee that companies are getting the best from their employees and contractors.

Case in point – recently a programmer with Verizon was discovered to have outsourced his own job to China. Let that sink in. This full-time employee outsourced his own programming work to a Chinese subcontractor and spent his time at work playing on the internet. Here is what “Bob’s” normal workday looked like:

  • 9:00 a.m. – Arrive and surf Reddit for a couple of hours. Watch cat videos.
  • 11:30 a.m. – Take lunch
  • 1:00 p.m. – Ebay time
  • 2:00-ish p.m – Facebook updates, LinkedIn
  • 4:30 p.m. – End-of-day update e-mail to management
  • 5:00 p.m. – Go home.

An interesting fact was Bob was receiving accolades for his great work and was up for promotion.

It’s About Who – Not Where

The takeaway here is that it’s about who you hire – not where they work. In Bob’s case, he felt it was OK to work as an employee and still outsource his job. He really needed to have his own firm providing programming work to organizations (a perfectly acceptable solution).

Finding the right people is key to ensuring that work is done effectively and ethically. This level of professional maturity is the hallmark of a Virtualpreneur. Understanding what motivates these people and developing an environment that supports the freedom and flexibility they desire is what it takes to attract top-tier talent. Who they are – not where they physically work – will determine the level of professionalism, creativity and productivity companies receive.

Top-tier talent wants freedom. They desire to work for a progressive, forward-thinking organization that hires managers to oversee processes and work product, not micro-manage people. Truthfully, top-tier talent can find these jobs easily, leaving the rest behind to fill up more traditional roles. This will most likely be a painful realization for Yahoo.

Check out our new book, The New World of Work: From Cube to the Cloud, to learn more about Virtualpreneurs and the benefits of a virtual workforce. Visit

With the soulfulness of Wayne Dyer and the entrepreneurial spirit of Richard Branson, Terri is a world-class business growth expert, social impact investor, and serial entrepreneur whose purpose is to inspire potential. With her own money, Terri built a portfolio of purposeful companies, Share On Purpose, Inc., and now invests in and creates mission-driven start-ups.

In a career that spans more than 25 years, Terri has launched, owned, sold, rebranded or turned around more than 40 companies. She is known for her game-changing business models and personal transformation frameworks.

Everything she built came directly from a wellspring of perseverance and soulful resiliency, which she openly shares through her first purposeful brand, Succeed On Purpose.

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