It’s surprising to see how long it takes for an old, bad habit to die out. The resistance to allowing people to work from home is one that we should have been over a long time ago. The knee jerk reaction to this subject is mostly the result of management ideas that are holdovers from the fifties and that degrade the productivity and success of organizations in the modern workplace.
This subject came up in a conversation I had recently with a friend. My friend’s spouse had been working from home for some time, as were most of his colleagues. The arrangement was working well for both the organization and the employees. When the organization hired a new manager the first thing to change was that everyone was now required to work at the office. This decision was made with the “back to basics” approach and involved no evaluation of productivity or any other workplace metrics.
The fear of having people work from home is rooted in the old “theory X” approach where management believes that most people don’t like to work and won’t unless someone is watching them and making them work. The other component of the problem is that we are just used to coming to the office to work. It’s always been done that way.
In the past we pretty much had to work from the office because that’s where all the necessary resources were. Today with our computers, the Internet, cell phones, and all the other available technology there really isn’t anything someone can do at the office that they can’t do at home.
People should be allowed to choose where they accomplish the work for which they are responsible. The focus of management should be on three things: Is the work for which you are responsible being completed, is it being completed on time, and is the level of quality acceptable. The focus should be on the work and not on the rituals surrounding the work.
Cali Ressler and Jodi Thompson have developed the Results Only Work Environment or ROWE. In a ROWE the focus is on the work rather than on the ritual. The quality and amount of work you complete is what’s important, not where you are when you do the work. The ROWE concept is something that all managers should consider and is described by Ressler and Thompson in their books titled “Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It” and “Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix It”.
Take a moment and consider the following:
- Trust – Do you trust members of your team to accomplish their work unsupervised? It’s very difficult to achieve peak performance without trust. If you are uncomfortable with them working out of your sight you need to examine the state of trust between you and the team.
- Management Skill – Accurately defining the work and how that work will be measured is critical to employees working successfully outside the office. The manager and employee need to be exactly on the same page as to expectations and how they will be measured.
- Time – The next time you are sitting in rush hour traffic take a look around. Half those cars don’t need to be there. Could you do some work at home and be on the road when traffic is lighter?
Please take some time to consider and share your thoughts on the following:
- Do people in your organization regularly work outside the office?
- How do you feel about members of your team working remotely?
- How would your boss feel about you working remotely?
©2017 Joseph T Drammissi