The terror plot unveiled by Scotland Yard this past week is expected to impact business travellers, who won’t be willing to give up their laptops and Blackberrys (via the TP Wire Service again). But I expect to see a rise in virtual working, a trend that began in the 1990s, extending to higher levels of management that normally have travel perks. It won’t stop cultural connections: it will put them more online.
Technology has improved to a stage where we can use webcams and the like to conduct meetings—that is now the norm in so many companies, anyway. The model will simply grow more.
In the 1990s, before I travelled extensively, I formed strong relationships through email, faxing and phoning. We’ll simply have to use our imaginations more, and redevelop our internal trust of other people—something that I have noticed diminish in the business world over the last ﬁve or six years.
Emphasis will shift from the extroverted leaders to the introverted ones, especially those who are good at managing things without face-to-face meetings. This shift had happened before, reversed with cheaper air travel.
It doesn’t mean we will all retreat to our own nations, inside our own borders. No terrorist has ever been able to change a basic human condition of wanting to learn, connect, and better ourselves.
And they won’t target the virtual company structure, for they themselves rely upon it. Setting up an alternative network will merely attract the attention of law enforcement agencies, so if anything, they need to preserve these communication channels.
Ironically, if trust and cooperation increase through virtual working, they might have created the opposite effect of what they were trying to do. Those of us who are against terrorism might discover our strengths through being geographically apart, making our own lives better. It is one of the silver linings that I see in August 2006.
Del.icio.us tags: terrorism virtual companies travel business networking communication community Posted by Jack Yan, 02:28
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