Throughout this book, we’ve defined Virtual Distance and discussed how it is created. We’ve also talked about its impact on several important outcomes, including performance, leadership, and innovation. Now we take a look ahead and share some of our thoughts on the potential ways in which the Virtual Distance Model could help us into the future.
To recap, Virtual Distance is a by-product of our technological age, embodying a perceived sense of separateness that’s risen as communications have become increasingly technologically based and as dramatic changes in the way we work continue to develop.
Virtual Distance as a phenomenon has emerged in the past decade or so. As it continues to increase, there’s also been a human cost accompanying the increasing role that technology plays in our social and workplace interactions. In a recent interview, Michael Dell talked about having to turn off his Blackberry during nonworking hours because his family life was suffering as a result of his always being available, connected, and able to work from a distance. This is another side of virtual work—it’s accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So the distinction between work and personal life becomes blurred.
Virtual Distance is rising at a time when technology as well as business models are changing. Some, like those discussed in Chapter 6, have been so rapid and extreme, we’ve had difficulty adapting fully. As human beings, we can integrate only so much of our work activity ...