Working from home has had a bad rap lately, with Yahoo! CEO, Marissa Mayer, implementing a ban on the practise altogether and other, larger organisations incorporating strict restrictions on their “Work-from-home” policies.
It needn’t be that way; today, telecommuting, AKA “working from home”, is easier and more effective than ever. Thanks to a heap of online tools, software and, let’s not forget, social media, working remotely has seen far better results.
Don’t believe the negativity
Since the invention of high-speed Internet, flexible work arrangements have flourished, especially when taking into account the rise in smartphone usage.
Yahoo!’s viewpoint stems from Ms. Mayer’s findings when she decided to look at the VPN logs of her employees working from home. Obviously, she wasn’t pleased with what she found. The resulting media explosion just added fuel to the fire for those who think that telecommuters aren’t doing their jobs.
Isolated cases are often the cause for drastic changes to things that don’t need fixing. Many small business owners, such as David Bloom, CEO of Ordr.in, believe that there’s more to the story than meets the eye.
“In a big company, the CEO is tasked with keeping track of the actions of tens of thousands of employees, and checking VPN logs is a perfectly rational way to start that process, but if you’re doing that for your small company, you’ve already lost. You’ve lost a measure of trust,” explains David. “In a small company, the CEO should have much more personal and interactive relationships with their employees. You should have a system in place to know that they’re doing their work, without looking at any server logs.”
Keep up the face-to-face interactions
Many small and medium-sized business owners would agree, as Bloom does, that using services such as Skype, Google Hangouts or even Facebook’s new video calling service, is an essential part of a successful work-from-home situation. Bloom explains that, “everyone logs on for 15 minutes each morning, so we can all talk about what we’ve accomplished and what we’re working on. We have five employees, and four of us are in the same place, but we all log on separately. This allows us to have a face-to-face meeting where everyone’s equal. It’s not the four of us sitting in one place, with our colleague sitting somewhere else.”
There are some companies that outright refuse to incorporate these services and then wonder why their employee productivity drops – it’s not a case of wanting to work or not, it’s more relevant to appreciate what works for your employees rather than thinking they don’t want to work because they’re lazy. Sometimes an employee could face a problem that’s solved much easier over a quick Skype call than hundreds of back and forth emails.
Gathering in the virtual kitchen
Along with the companies and services we mentioned earlier, it’s important that employees, based outside the office or otherwise, are able to interact, share opinions, discuss projects and socialise. As such, one might wonder how any of that would be possible when work-from-home staff are sometimes more than 5,000 kms away from each other.
There are literally hundreds of online services that can help you to stay in touch and interact just as you normally would… albeit without any touching, if that’s something you think you’ll miss.
Online forums, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and your website’s own intranet can used, very effectively, to allow for ongoing discussion and project improvement. It’s just a case of figuring out which one works for all of you and delivers on your expectations.
Employees will offer up more respect to a CEO who tries new things or listens to their opinions, regardless of where they are, than a CEO who enforces their ideals and expects everyone to just carry on.
Creating the perfect working atmosphere (virtual or otherwise)
While there are a multitude of online tools and software at your disposal, some would argue that if you’re having to rely on technology to ensure that your staff are doing as they should, then taking another look at your hiring processes may help.
Take Pinnacle Solutions, for example. It’s a US-based Engineering and Tech firm that employs about 100 people. Most of its staff are based out of the office, and the HR Manager, Ben Eubanks, claims that they don’t use any specific software or technology to keep their staff accountable.
“I’m a big believer in the ROWE [Results Only Work Environment] movement. It’s all about treating your staff like adults and allowing them to manage their own time,” says Ben. “We have a strict hiring process, and we screen rigorously to find people who meet our core values, which we communicate early and often. A couple of times, we have run into people who can’t handle the freedom—people who want to goof off instead of working. But we can tell when they’re not meeting deadlines, and we get the process started to find someone else who can. It all comes back to our core values and our ability to communicate them.”
If you’ve hired someone to work remotely but you feel that they may be more inclined to laze about than work, then your business could be suffering. Precise Investigation and our team of professional Private Investigators specialise in corporate surveillance and we are more than equipped to uncover the truth.
Call Precise Investigation today on 1300 856 011 for a professional, Private Investigation Service
Contact us today and one of our reputable detectives will get to work and provide you with the evidence you need. We have Private Investigators available across most Australian cities including, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart and more, so contact us today and see what we can do for you.
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