Waggoner-Edstrom Evaluating the Costs and Term Paper

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To be successful in the 21st century, Waggoner-Edstrom must transform distance and time constraints into advantages, by creating a virtual team and telecommuting organizational structure.


Overview of Research Process

The following is an overview of the research process undertaken to complete this analysis. An initial literature review was completed of the current research on telecommuting. This analysis indicated that there are major variations in how industries implement telecommuting and teleworking best practices in their organizations. In the accounting, finance and information systems consultancy-based industries, the focus on key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics of performance indicating high levels of collaboration was the most significant finding from the research (McClure, 2004).

Following the literature review, attitudinal and performance surveys were completed with key employees regarding their perception and trust of working with virtual teams from corporate headquarters. In conjunction with the survey, an analysis was undertaken of the potential tax advantages, Return on Investment (ROI) and potential for incremental revenue gains based on a more effective global, virtual team of experts being available to address emerging market needs.

Background of Telecommuting at Waggoner-Edstrom

Waggoner Edstrom has traditionally used telecommuting only when inclement weather made commuting in Oregon, Washington and New York impractical from a time and safety standpoint. The discovery of how effective this strategy is for new business development was seen in the last year, as the design teams working on account reviews were largely responsible for a 75% increase in new accounts in our latest fiscal year. The virtual teams responsible for competing on agency reviews and winning them deliberately created a highly collaborative workflow process with European and Asian integrated marketing communications experts internally. The result was Waggoner-Edstrom winning over a dozen new accounts in review status with their existing advertising agencies by being able to concentrate the very best talent available internally to the most complex aspects of the review.


Current Telecommuting Process

Telecommuting is today primarily a loosely defined process that is relied on when inclement weather during the winter months makes transportation to the offices in Oregon, Washington, New York and London impractical. Only recently has the potential for virtual teams comprised of experts across geographies been piloted, showing exceptional results.


Waggoner-Edstrom was able to keep pace with each client deadline throughout the winter months, not missing a single customer or client commitment despite significant interruptions due to weather. Most significant however have been the results of the virtual team that was created in response to the 12 different major accounts in review cycles with their existing advertising agencies. It became apparent to project managers that only by enlisting the help of Asian, European and South African-based senior team members would the firm be able to respond to all 12 reviews with a thorough, well-defined proposal of what Waggoner-Edstrom would be able to provide. The result was a 75% increase in new revenues using the virtual team model.

Challenges and Opportunities for Improvement

Waggoner-Edstrom is challenged with growing their client base in China and throughout the Asian region without incurring significant costs of new operations. What's needed is a virtual team approach using telecommuting as the catalyst of this new market development initiative, capitalizing on the innate strengths of its most talented employees globally. Telecommuting also needs to be considered as foundational to the recruitment process for the senior team. The cost advantages of telecommuting are secondary to the potential revenue gains possible in new markets.


The following are the recommendations for Waggoner-Edstrom regarding how to gain the greatest value from a telecommuting strategy globally:

Create a strategic telecommuting plan that looks at the most significant gaps in critical skill areas needed in new markets.

Move beyond telecommuting as a cost-based to a revenue-driven strategy that is measured using collaboration-based metrics.

Define best practices internally for virtual teams and use telecommuting as a means to bring these senior professionals together on the most challenging projects and proposals.

Define metrics of performance and dashboards that evaluate, reward and promote team performance globally in real-time.

Summary of Recommendations

The following is a summary of the recommendations based on the completion of this study. Waggoner Edstrom's technology infrastructure supports telecommuting today. The use of Virtual Private Networking (VPN) is pervasive globally, and has proven to be reliable for connecting teams and ensuring secured lines for communication and collaboration. With the technology platform in place, the primary focus of these recommendations is how to nurture and create effective virtual teams.

Create a strategic telecommuting plan that looks at the most significant gaps in critical skill areas needed in new markets.

Based on the employee survey and the observations from analysis, it is clear that penetrating new markets is a critical priority for the firm, yet it is not staffed to manage this effort today. Waggoner Edstrom needs to define a telecommuting strategic plan, detailing which critical skill sets are needed in specific geographies to help the firm grow. The skill sets of web design, influencer relations, and integrated marketing communications strategy are critically needed to support efforts to expand into China. The telecommuting strategic plan needs to take these needs into account and define a series of steps to gain expertise critical to expanding into new countries and regions.

Move beyond telecommuting as a cost-based to a revenue-driven strategy that is measured using collaboration-based metrics.

To date, Waggoner-Edstrom is measuring telecommuting from a cost- and time-based standpoint. It's time to consider moving to a more revenue-based and revenue accountability approach by giving virtual teams accountability for collaborating towards client-based needs and goals. The recent increase of 75% in bookings and new revenue can be the new foundation for this approach to revenue-driven telecommuting.

Define metrics of performance and dashboards that evaluate, reward and promote team performance globally in real-time.

One of the most significant findings is that virtual team members did not have visibility into the performance of other teams, and often needed to know the status of parallel projects. This issue can be solved by using analytics and metrics on a dashboard published on the company's Intranet site. In addition, the attainment of autonomy, mastery and purpose in a profession is also predicated on measurable feedback (Sanjuan, 2011). Waggoner-Edstrom needs to design their dashboards and metrics of performance to provide telecommuting employees with the opportunity to attain autonomy, mastery and purpose in their jobs. This will lead to more job satisfaction and higher levels of cooperation and collaboration. Ultimately Waggoner Edstrom will experience lower employee turn-over and higher productivity as a result.


The critical success factors for Waggoner Edstrom to succeed globally include continually pursuing an agile, client-driven organizational structure and the formation and use of virtual teams. Telecommuting has proven to be a highly effective platform for accomplishing both of these factors. Findings included in this analysis indicate that telecommuting can create a more agile organizational structure. Greater agility through the use of telecommuting made it possible for the firm to win 12 new accounts in the latest fiscal year. This resulted in a 75% increase in new revenues for this latest fiscal financial period.

Creating and sustaining virtual teams is proving to be a critical second success factor. The continued efforts to win new client accounts in China have been accelerated through the use of telecommuting and virtual teams today. Uniting web designers, key influencer specialists and integrated marketing communication specialists on agency and new account reviews continues to show potential as a new business acquisition strategy. For Waggoner Edstrom to excel with a telecommuting strategy, the firm needs to consider creating a strategic telecommuting plan. This plan will be valuable for determining the gaps in critical skill areas globally, defining which can be filled with telecommuting-based recruitment strategies. Second, Waggoner Edstrom needs to move beyond a cost-based to a revenue-driven strategy that is measured using collaboration-based metrics. Third, best practices need to be defined internally for bringing virtual teams together on the most strategic and high-value projects. Finally, a series of metrics of performance and dashboards needs to be defined to evaluate, reward and promote team performance globally in real-time.

Works Cited

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Cohen, A.. (2011). Four Scenarios for Co-Working. The Futurist, 45(4), 8-10.

Coulson-Thomas, Colin. (1991). IT and New Forms of Organisation for Knowledge

Workers: Opportunity and Implementation. Employee Relations, 13(4), 22.

Fogarty, H., Scott, P., & Williams, S.. (2011). The half-empty office: dilemmas in managing locational flexibility. New Technology, Work, and Employment, 26(3), 183-195.

Kellyann Berube Kowalski, & Jennifer Ann Swanson. (2005). Critical success factors in developing teleworking programs. Benchmarking, 12(3), 236-249.

Dave McClure. (2004, October). The telecommuting audit: Part II. CPA Technology

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