I published an article a couple of months ago about “The Future of Work: Employees Want to Work Their Own Way”. Afterward, I received a nice note asking about telework.
You are so right Sharlyn. In 2019, being able to own your career and be proud of what you do is something most employees dream of. But I’d like to hear your thoughts on giving office workers to work from home (i.e. the ‘freedom to work from home’ or ‘the ability to work from home’).
On one hand, it’ll likely give employees more time to get more work done (due to a lack of commute, the ability to work without getting properly dressed every morning, etc.), but on the other, the freedom, lack of supervision, and all the enticing functions of a home (bed, TV, pets, etc.) might undercut the extra time they gained by giving them numerous reasons to procrastinate.
This reader is absolutely right. The benefits of working from home include not having to deal with traffic and a long commute. It can also be helpful not to have to think about getting dressed for a professional office environment. (Please note: This should not be interpreted as condoning bad hygiene.)
And there is a potential downside. Working from home can be distracting depending on your situation. I know people who say that pets and other family members can cut into their productivity. Even when you don’t have those things, sometimes we’re our own worst enemy and things like Facebook, sunny weather, or the latest episode of Lucifer can be a distraction.
There are things organizations and individuals can do to leverage the advantages and minimize the disadvantages of telework. Here are some resources that might help:
Employee retention is a top priority today. Employee caregivers face many obstacles. Companies can help by offering flexible work options.
Flexible work brings opportunities to both the business and employee. There are many ways to design flexible workspace. Here’s one example using Home, Roam, Hub and Club.
For many, working at home is the dream. But there can be a lot of challenges too. Here are a few tips to help you successfully work from home.
Managing home and work demands can be a real balancing act. Employees want to be successful at telework, but managers need training for it.
Regardless of whether you’re an employee or an organization, if you’re thinking that you might like to explore telework, it may make sense to create a test-run or experiment. Define the parameters. Both the employee and employer need to agree on why you’re giving telework a try, what’s expected in terms of manager and employee performance during the trial run, and what will happen after the test period expires. Open communication throughout the experiment is essential.
There are so many outcomes that could occur as a result of the experiment. The employee could hate working from home. They could love it and be incredibly productive. The manager could find it really difficult to manage remote employees. Or they could find that their relationship with the employee gets stronger.
Working from home has definite pros and cons. Employees and organizations can create a win if they want to.
Image of Ernest Hemingway’s home office captured by Sharlyn Lauby just outside of Havana, Cuba16