A home for telecommuters

With an increasing number of employees working from home or off-site, employers may be wondering how to manage work teams and projects from a distance.

Bill Bruck, co-founder of Collaboration Architects Inc. in Falls Church, Va., says there are several reasons to invest in a virtual workplace, an online office”where employees can communicate and collaborate. Bruck and partner John Darling specialize in designing, constructing and implementing online work environments.

Bruck says there are several reasons to create a virtual office.

* Workplace boundaries are expanding and decision-making is becoming more complex.

* Ongoing collaborations are inherently superior to fragmented meetings. Online environments allow collaboration over a long period of time and records can be maintained online for all to review.

* For most business teams, e-mail just isn’t enough. A well-designed virtual office gives the team a single location to comments and respond.

* A virtual workplace creates a living archive of documents. Every team member has access to memos, progress reports, schedules, budgets and other project material.

* Asynchronous work environments give everyone an equal voice. Online discussions give less aggressive employees the an opportunity to post comments. How to reach: Bill Bruck, Collaboration Architects Inc. (703) 204-8300