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Dr. Lojeski >
History of VDI > Research
Incessant email, unending strings of conference calls, talking with
people half-way around the globe whom you have never met,
responsible for worldwide coordination and communications,
extensive virtual collaboration, and more...sound familiar?
That was my life in 1992 when I was working as a District Manager
for Stratus Computer, Inc.
So I decided to take a hiatus from the "World of Work" and pursue a
doctorate to uncover answers to questions that literally kept me up
at night like:
* Why, after 10 years of technological innovation were people in
the workplace feeling increasingly displaced?
* How could it be that with virtually no physical limitations on
where and when one worked, many of my colleagues were more stressed
* What was causing me to feel that productivity was in fact
decreasing and not increasing as the popular press would have me
* Why were people so unhappy?
* What was the cause?
However, much to my surprise I found that research in this area had
not unearthed any illuminating insights. The empirical work that
had been done up until then was based mainly on samples of
students, and not professionals. Topic area analysis was too thinly
sliced to shed much light on the complex 21st centruy
So with interview guides in hand, I spent the next year and a half,
talking to hundreds of people from executives to individual
contributors alike. Thousands of hours were spent in conversations
and analyses around what real-life professional people found most
challenging in the new Digital Age; where virtual communication and
collaboration had usurped much of the face-to-face and more
personal exchanges on which social norms and behaviors had been
built over time immemorial.
And so, Virtual Distance was born.
We found out a lot about what was happening and why. While physical
distances still posed challenges, it was social and emotional
distances that were exponentially rising with each new
collaboration tool introduced to the market. Ironically -- as the
world shrank in terms of communication reach, huge ruptures between
individuals were beginning to appear at an increasing rate.
We also found a way to measure this phenomenon in the Virtual
Distance Index -- an approach that was needed to capture the
imagination of right- and left-brainers alike. The Virtual Distance
Index made the conceptual model an even more powerful tool for
those caught in these breaches.
Once given a name, and a formula for how to overcome it, people
from all walks of corporate life began to embrace it. Each time I
spoke at a conference, even before finishing my degree, audience
members would tell me how they found themselves somewhat liberated
by the language of Virtual Distance. They shared personal stories
about how Virtual Distance and the lexicon we had developed,
allowed them to explicitly express the visceral yet ephemeral
disturbances that pulsated in every organizational and societal
situation they had become accustomed to. They asked how they could
use it in their companies to break down communication barriers,
reduce Virtual Distance, increase productivity, enhance innovation,
and find greater satisfaction and happiness in their work.
And so, Virtual Distance International was born.