Some people thoroughly enjoy working from home (WFH). Others find it confining and can’t wait to get back to the office. There are positive attributes and hidden issues with each. Decide what’s important or figure out a way to work around an issue.
- Some organizations are planning for up to 50% or more of their employees to work hours or days remotely within the next 5 years. Your ability to perform at a high level may be determined by the skills you develop now
- Usually individual contributors are more productive when they don’t have to depend upon others to support their efforts. That’s not necessarily bad unless results are measured on a group basis.
- A key element to an effective ‘work from home’ strategy is a skilled manager. This is where management training is critical. Managers who don’t know how to supervise or communicate with remote workers puts them at a disadvantage.
- ‘Work from home’ workers need guidance, defined expectations, clear priorities, and all available information about their work, including potential impediments
- George Orwell’s book “Animal Farm”, has a famous line “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”. If office workers get better communications, more face time with the manager, greater insights into job promotions or after work drinks with the boss, then WFH workers are at a distinct disadvantage.
- Individuals working from home need a very high level of interaction with their co-workers, support staff and boss. Effective communications with all parties are very difficult. There must be an open and free interaction with and between everyone
- Off-site members of a work group remove any chance of spontaneous chats with managers or senior executives in the hallway or elevators when they say, “How’s it going?” or “How can we make your job easier or more productive?”
- Some employers understand the issues and are making alternatives available for remote workers to schedule time in the office on a planned basis. They are smart.
- One concern for remote workers is, “Out of sight, out of mind” when it comes to career opportunities. Keep your options open internally and externally.
- If you have a job whereby you can objectively measure results, then it may be immaterial where your work is located. If you can’t measure your contribution or productivity, your job appraisal is subjective.
- Collaboration, whether in an office or remote, is critical. In some ways an effective group working remotely can be more collaborative than in an office. Working remotely with a non-collaborative group can cause a shortfall in your performance
- A manager may be excellent in an office environment and terrible with a remote group or visa-versa. One of the critical differences is technology. If a manager is technologically challenged, supervising a remote group will affect performance.
Working remotely is here to stay. Your future may depend upon how well you adjust, communicate and collaborate, and can balance productivity, performance and relationships.
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