The Coronavirus is wreaking havoc and leaving destruction in its tracks, disrupting life and work in more ways than one. Several authorities have ordered shutdowns or lock downs in an effort to stem the spread of the virus.
Some employers have been forced to consider the work from home option.
I suggest its about time to talk about the benefits of allowing employees to work from home, to the extent practical of course.
One of the key considerations is in the change of attitude and behaviour by management. It is time start to looking at deliverables and not necessarily the presence of an employee at his or her desk or workstation. People can now connect to almost anything through the world wide web. ICT has made contact so much easier. Managers can easily reach employees without the need for a physical presence. Managers must now turn to and focus their attention on getting employees deliver on set performance goals and not necessarily insist on employees being present. In any case, they can be present anywhere, through emails and other video contact avenues.
Time to learn and reinforce performance management
Having employees work from home will force managers and employees to seriously consider detailed performance targets that can be measured, again focusing on outputs and not inputs. Studies have shown that working from home increases performance. Careful thought must be given to performance targets and how success would be measured.
Time to start trusting your employees
Some of the reasons why managers feel uncomfortable about letting employees work from home is the lack of trust. Managers seem to think that employees will always use the time at home to do other things that are not work related. Well, back to my earlier proposal: If you set realistic performance targets and deliverables, who cares whether the employee accomplishes them in half the time and then use the other time for whatever they choose to? The manager will be happy to have performance targets achieved and the employee will be happy to have some time on their hands to do other things. Remember, employees have a life outside of work. Their life does not consist of work and work alone. Let employees be and they will deliver. Show them some trust and they will reciprocate by delivering, sometimes beyond your expectation. You can explore several monitoring systems to ensure work is delivered but managers must start trusting their employees and giving them an opportunity to prove themselves.
Time to value output and not only presence.