In my last post I talked about one of the issues that companies sometimes struggle with in terms of managing remote workers, that of communicating effectively. Another thing that employers have to be aware of when they allow their employees to work from home though, is that managing productivity can also be a challenge.
There’s an art to being able to work from home and some would say that it takes a certain kind of person to be able to cut themselves off from the many distractions that the home environment typically offers and focus on the job in hand. Especially when staff are new to home working, there can be the tendency for them to make use of the daytime hours to play with the kids or do the chores, with the intention of getting through their workloads later on, only to find that what should have been an eight hour working day has suddenly shrunk to something much less. Many also find it hard to say “no” to all those friends and family members who can’t seem to get it through their heads that “working from home” means just that, so that valuable work time is wasted on endless cups of coffee and chats.
Although employers have to be able to trust the employees to whom they extend the opportunity to work from home, managers can help their workers to ease into remote working by giving them tasks which are not only clearly defined, but which are broken down into stages each of which are subject to deadlines too. In this way, they can monitor the productivity of their staff much more easily and regularly, and of course the deadlines themselves will help to motivate workers to get on with what needs to be done.
Working from home clearly takes a good deal of self-discipline, but most employees soon get to grips with managing their more flexible working arrangements. By assigning them achievable tasks that they can monitor frequently, however, managers can help their staff to settle in to their new way of working all the quicker.