Why aren’t we all working from home today?

Work to live or live to work?

Employees now view their jobs as a means to fund their lifestyle more and more. As the lifestyle becomes more important, how can you recruit and retain the best of the best? Studies have shown that the biggest benefit you can give an employee is home working, but can you make it work for you?

Working in your pants/knickers

Allowing employees to work from home for some or all of their week is a great morale booster. Just think of the horrid commutes and how nice it is to roll from bed to the home office, kitchen or dining room and open your laptop. The average London commute can be reduced from one hour and fourteen minutes to just five minutes and that includes the time taken to boil the kettle and make a brew. On a personal level, this gives employees more time to spend with their families and has a noticeable positive effect on their output and quality of work.

Draconian managers don’t want to give up their whips

Some companies are reluctant to allow home working due to concerns over managing their employees workload. Providing that you have systems and processes in place, together with the right HR policies to protect the company, home working will work. However, you need to overcome the biggest barrier, namely the way people manage others. In a typical working environment, managers want to oversee staff in a rather draconian manner literally watching over them and cracking a whip to ensure output. There are often cries of, have you done X, did you call Y and countless cases of micro management.

Trust is all it takes

In a progressive business, a culture of independence is fostered, making the management ethos less hierarchical and more open which in itself fosters trust. Once trust becomes part of the culture of an organisation, then it is a simple step to make remote working a positive experience for all involved.

With Business Information Systems and information sharing, the workplace can become transparent and the need for active management is reduced as co-workers can see what others are achieving in a collaboration project. Trust therefore boils down to a minor issue with the major drawback being management’s inability to manage people remotely. Managers need to therefore overcome the fear factor, namely the ‘if I can’t see what you’re doing then I don’t know that you’re working’ factor. Managers need training on how to assess a home-worker on their output rather than their input.

It’s all about communication

Key to this is communication and how to develop a continuous stream of communication. Whether you utilise instant messaging, email, or video conferences or over the phone, constant communication is needed to keep remote workers ‘in the loop’.

Are you good enough?

The biggest task for management is how to measure output. Target and clear task setting is required with all parties having clear visibility their goals.


So ask yourself the question, are you a good enough manager to manage remotely?