Telecommuting for Waggoner Edstrom Term Paper

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Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of Creating and Sustaining a Telecommuting Program at Waggoner-Edstrom

The most quantifiable benefits of telecommuting, where companies create virtual workforces and remote project teams, include lower operating costs and higher team-based performance (Cohen, 2011). Additional quantifiable aspects of telecommuting also include lowering the carbon footprint of an organization and ensuring its compliance to environmental regulations as well (Nilles, 1997). Even for those organizations whose business models are predicated on accounting and financial services, the greatest contributions to the Return on Investment (ROI) of telecommuting defy easy quantification however (Kowalski, Swanson, 2005).

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Organizations who rely on the expertise and knowledge of their employees to gain access to new markets continue to define best practices in telecommuting. The cost savings of telecommuting become secondary to the strategic benefits of greater agility and the quickness these organizations rely on to address new market opportunities. For Waggoner-Edstrom, the greatest benefit of telecommuting is the ability to expand into emerging, high growth markets including China with relatively low investment. Telecommuting is already making Waggoner Edstrom more agile and responsive in serving existing clients and working on proposals to gain new ones. The recent series of new clients and 75% increase in current fiscal year revenues are entirely attributable to virtual teams. The reliance on the global network of Waggoner Edstrom expertise in web design, influencer relations, and integrated marketing communications was the catalyst of this significant increase in revenue. Based on the research completed for this study, the firms' global network of expertise in these areas can also serve as a powerful platform for growth in China and throughout Asia.


TOPIC: Term Paper on Telecommuting for Waggoner Edstrom Assignment

This study focuses on the benefits to Waggoner-Edstrom of initiating a globally-based telecommuting program that can be used as a platform gaining clients in Asian nations. Telecommuting has shown to be a key contributor to organization's ability to become and stay agile over time while also serving as a foundation for employees' growth (Chaudhuri, 2011).

In industries that require an exceptional level of expertise including accounting, advertising, information systems design and development, and communications, telecommuting has emerged as an effective platform for orchestrating expertise (McClure, 2004). The agility of businesses in each of these industries is based on how quickly they can assign, educate and coordinate each senior member of a project team to ensure a high level of collaboration. Accounting and finance firms, in addition to information systems design and development organizations also rely on a series of criterion for evaluating which members of its teams will be virtually-based if they are located in headquarters already. The most significant value of telecommuting is not in reducing overhead expenses in corporate. Its greatest value is in creating a global network of expertise within the firm which can be relied on to penetrate new markets and serve clients with greater clarity and excellent work.

For Waggoner-Edstrom, the challenge of continually growing globally is predicated on how well the company can execute new client recruitment and retention strategies throughout Asia. To date, using the traditional means of opening an office in a foreign nation have only been partially successful. The most talented Waggoner-Edstrom employees are reluctant to relocate to China, yet excel as members of telecommuting virtual teams. During the latest series of agency reviews with prominent North American and Asian companies looking to replace their existing advertising agencies, the perennial shortage of Web designers and ergonomics experts, key influencer or investment analyst relations experts, and integrated marketing communications strategists was solved with telecommuting. Our organization has shown an emerging strength in orchestrating diverse skills sets across broad geographic areas to solve complex client proposal questions and problems. Recruiting talented team members in these three critical skill areas is going to be made much easier when they have the flexibility to work from their home offices. Not only is telecommuting proving to be effective for winning new business, it is a strong potential incentive to recruit the most talented processionals in the three skill areas we need the most help in.

In addition, the most experienced web designers, ergonomics experts, key influencer and investor relations managers, and integrated marketing communications experts are familiar with the agency review, evaluation and quoting process. The agency review process begins with a pro forma project provided by the prospective client. Each agency competing for their account must complete a full campaign that includes Web designs and integrated marketing strategies by the deadline. Where the agency review process in the past was more interview-based, prospective clients, including Nike and others, expect a completed pro forma project during the last weeks of the agency review process, which typically is 3 months in duration. The virtual teams within Waggoner Edstrom were able to deliver the highest quality work of any competing agency before meeting their deadlines. This resulted in our 75% increase in new revenue of our latest fiscal year.

Companies are able to attain greater agility in turbulent markets by using telecommuting as a flexible collaboration platform, grouping employees into virtual teams in response to client and customer needs (Chaudhuri, 2011) (please delete this comment before handing in; above section is paraphrased). The profile of the most successful telecommuting employees include at least ten years of previous management, and leadership experience, and expertise in their specific professional field (Sanjuan, 2011). Employees who excel at telecommuting also have a very strong work ethic and an ability to discipline themselves to get work done. The concern many corporations have regarding telecommuting is that the isolation and heavy workloads can lead to burn-out. In response to this concern over burn-out, many companies are creating regular face-to-face meetings for their virtual teams and real-time chat and file sharing systems to enable greater collaboration (Kowalski, Swanson, 2005). The most promising finding for Waggoner-Edstrom is that telecommuting has been shown to be very effective in combining the three traits of autonomy, mastery, and purpose in comparable senior contributor positions in parallel industries (McClure, 2004). The combination of autonomy, mastery and purpose is a critical for long-term job motivation to be maintained (Sanjuan, 2011). Another finding is that employees who are recruited originally as telecommuters to staff virtual teams focus on new market development tend to have higher job satisfaction scores than those doing manual, repetitive work remotely (Fogarty, Scott, Williams, 2011). This finding is significant because it refutes the common misconception that telecommuting is only effective for low-skill jobs such as accounting and payroll processing.

The effective management of virtual teams has provided a flexible foundation for services-based companies comparable to Waggoner-Edstrom to create the foundation of autonomy, mastery and purpose in their virtual team roles (McClure, 2004). The agility of an organization is directly proportional to how effectively it recruits, retains and grows its most valued contributors. Waggoner-Edstrom is facing significant challenges attaining new business throughout the Asia in general and China specifically, due to a lack of Chinese-literate Web designers, lack of key influencer analysts and specialists for these markets, and no expertise with integrated marketing communications strategies in these regions. When senior managers were interviewed as part of this evaluation, the most common concern was the lack of expertise internally for dealing with Chinese clients, specifically in the area of integrated marketing communications. Telecommuting can serve as the foundation for greater agility and responsiveness to this emerging market, drastically reducing the costs of opening multiple offices in Beijing and surrounding regions. Companies are increasingly relying on telecommuting as a platform for knowledge management and collaboration globally, often creating and staffing these programs at a fraction of the cost of operating a traditional remote office (Cohen, 2011).

For Waggoner-Edstrom the potential exists to transform virtual teams into a unified organizational structure that will have the agility of much smaller firms yet the depth of expertise and support systems of a global advertising and public relations firm. Agility in turbulent markets is a competitive advantage for any business, yet becomes even more urgent given the time-sensitive nature of advertising, investor and public relations. For Waggoner-Edstrom to continually attract and gain the trust of new clients, the firm needs to concentrate on creating an agile, always-available workforce. The vision of this workforce is that the core strengths of each contributor can be quickly applied to potential projects, while also being assigned to ongoing client projects. 75% of the previous year revenue is from new account reviews managed and completed by virtual teams.

This vision has been difficult for Waggoner-Edstrom to transform into a profitable reality. There are many factors behind this, including the corporate culture that rewards time spent in the office on projects, not measuring results per hour. Waggoner-Edstrom also concentrates on a time-click approach to creativity, evaluating the performance of designers and account directors on hours invested per campaign or program. Instead, the firm needs to consider how accounting firms and consultancies are using virtual teams and telecommuting to increase agility and response times to proposals and projects while lowering operating costs (McClure, 2004). The intent of this analysis and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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