Employers forced out of offices by the Attack on America and employees fearful of future attacks of airplanes or anthrax are using technology to get the job done. Telecommuting, a trend of the past decade is enjoying a revival and presenting a new challenge for both employers and employees. Forced to develop specific guidelines for telecommuters, employers find themselves at a loss on how to manage the distance worker. Employees face the challenge of integrating their professional life into their personal space, often space previously used by family members. More challenging, perhaps, is that not every job, not every worker, is suited for working at home. So regardless of whether working at home is by choice or by necessity, possible negatives can be replaced by positives with good planning and follow-up.
While it may be realistic to be concerned about distractions home-based workers face we often overlook the continual distractions from chatty colleagues, time spent looking for misplaced information, and meetings that don’t produce results, that office workers face. Being at home may mean an employee moves laundry from the washer to the dryer while waiting for a document to download, but it can also mean grabbing a cup of yogurt from the fridge instead of taking 40 minutes to go to the café next door.
If you are the employer, consider these tips for making a smoother transition from employees in your building to productive members of your team outside of the company zip code:
If you are the employee:
Employees, who have the option to telecommute, and feel safer as a result, will produce better work and provide more value for the company. While working from home requires discipline, planning, and commitment, it can be very rewarding for employers and employees. The key to success is regular communication among family members, colleagues, and supervisors. If you want to know how the arrangement is working, ask!
© Barbara Hemphill is the author of Kiplinger's Taming the Paper Tiger at Work and Taming the Paper Tiger at Home and co-author of Love It or Lose It: Living Clutter-Free Forever. The mission of Hemphill Productivity Institute is to help individuals and organizations create and sustain a productive environment so they can accomplish their work and enjoy their lives. We do this by organizing space, information, and time. We can be reached at 800-427-0237 or at www.ProductiveEnvironment.com