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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Virtual Work Force: by Don Alexander

Introduction to Virtual Work Force the Blog’s First Guest Article
I was fortunate to have offers of educational guest articles for entrepreneurs. I am preparing the next section on IP for this blog which I hope to have completed in the near future. In the mean time, a friend offered to prepare a segment on the Virtual Work Force and I accepted before he changed his mind. This is an important topic for startups and will require further discussion. I am introducing the segment now in hopes that my readers will have a chance to think the topic and ask questions or suggest related topics they would like to have discussed. The contact information and website for the author is listed in case you would like to address any questions.

Virtual Work Force
By Don Alexander, Carlyle & Conlan, Morrisville, NC, 27560
In the world of professional and executive search, we are witnessing an increased interest in virtual workforces. On the workforce side, part of this trend is precipitated by the recent real estate market bubble and resulting inability for workers to relocate. Moreover, the proliferation of broadband technology allows many workers the ability to replicate most functions found in an office environment. In the future, other driving forces could include increasing gas prices and continued interest in companies that embrace quality of life aspects that can accompany virtual work.

Companies are increasingly leveraging a core group of highly skilled individuals within the life sciences industry. Most often, these core groups include a company CEO or President, CSO or Head of R&D and, depending on the assets of the company, a Chief Medical Officer, Business Development executive and other professionals. Today’s life sciences companies are only adding back office talent, such as CFO’s and HR, when a company hits an inflection point where outsourcing this type of work no longer makes economic sense. Company boards of directors and scientific advisory boards have been virtual for some time so it is not a leap that life science companies shed the bricks and mortar, except in cases where laboratory, manufacturing or other capital equipment intensive environments exist (*and even these environments can be outsourced). It is also not uncommon, in today’s workforce, to see a CEO located in Boston and a CMO located in San Diego and it will be less uncommon, in the future, that the CSO will be located in Shanghai.

While the upside for a company viewing the world as its potential workforce is compelling, the principal downside in moving to a more virtual workforce are the cultural aspects where workers embrace corporate vision and mission statements as employees and come together in a central location. In the future, however, it is likely that fewer highly skilled workers will be “employed” by any single employer. Instead, we may see more of a “mutual fund” model where workers consult for a number of companies on specific projects. This will provide the skilled worker with more “stability” than any single employer can provide as well as a broader base of skill sets and experiences to draw from. The company will benefit from variable, rather than fixed, costs.

Contact information for writer:
Don Alexander
Vice President, Life Sciences
Development & Commercialization
Carlyle & Conlan
430 Davis Drive, Ste 230
Morrisville, NC, 27560
T: +1(919) 474-0771 x105
F: +1(919) 474-0682

You can follow Taffy Williams on Twitter by @twilli2861 and you can email me with questions at twilli2861@aol.com and my company website is at http://www.ColonialTDC.com .