As a long-time veteran in the field of human resources (HR), I’ve seen telecommuting storm onto the scene through advances in technology. Telecommuting employees complete work from remote locations, and sometimes the method backfires.
In February 2013, Yahoo!’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, killed the long-standing policy that allowed employees to work from home. The news sent shockwaves in every direction, especially throughout high-tech industries. Many wondered whether the decision was a step backward and a signal of changes to come elsewhere.
Two months later, Mayer spoke at a human resources conference. She clarified that the new rule applied to just 200 of the 1200 Yahoo! employees. She reinforced the idea that collaboration and innovation happen best in an interactive environment. Even though the change was drastic for a tech company, she wasn’t backing down.
Many people feel their best work happens when they are uninterrupted and left alone, but even the best worker can hit some snags.
Five Common Pitfalls in Telecommuting
- Misalignment of organizational vision
- Loss of focus
- Derailed project or job expectations
- Poor time management Burnout (as work hours lengthen at a remote environment, like one’s home)
- Remember, the key principle for an ideal telecommuting situation is this:
- Working from home, or from another remote location, should include the same qualities that make work at the office productive.
Five Workplace Features that Help Telecommuters Succeed
- Workspace boundaries – Can the employee shut the door when they need to work and otherwise maintain a good work-life balance?
- Ability to concentrate – Will children, friends, or other obligations frequently interrupt the employee?
- Organization – Can they make a schedule and stick to it?
- Productivity – Have they been given expectations and goals? Can they get help quickly if they hit an obstacle?
- Focus and Fitness – Can they take short, regular breaks throughout the day to stay fresh and avoid fatigue or burnout?
What single safeguard makes telecommuting most effective? A job description!
Do the groundwork and craft a solid job description for a telecommuter before telecommuting takes effect. When a manager latches onto telecommuting as a hot trend without making the necessary preparations, trouble lies ahead.
A job description is not only important from an employee management standpoint; it’s a strategic necessity.
Your organization’s productivity and growth can be stymied when skills and competencies are unknown variables. Be definitive.
What’s the future for telecommuting?
Telecommuting is here to stay! The kibosh on telecommuting seen at Yahoo! won’t be the norm. While a number of organizations may rein in their telecommuters, many organizations will increase their use of telecommuting.
They will also recognize the high value of the expertise from contracted workers through portals and agencies like UpWork.com, Fiverr.com, and Guru.com. Specialized workers will continue to work from home, their local coffee shop, or other spots as the trend becomes normalized and wireless networking becomes more widely available worldwide.
Now is the perfect time to set expectations and boundaries to make the best of the situation.
How many people do you know who telecommute? What has been your experience? Would love to hear from our readers.
Mark A. Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 20 years of HR experience. In His Name HR helps organizations build high-performance Human Resource programs.
Visit them at In HIS Name HR or Send Email
Find the right person for the right job!
It sounds simple, but it won’t come easily without planning and a process. Getting the wrong people not only kills performance but can also damage your reputation.
And, of course, you don’t have the money to do it wrong. Training misfit or unqualified new employees always costs more in the long run than hiring the right person in the first place. Additionally, turnover is higher if employees haven’t been recruited properly. Employees grow disappointed when their position is out of their depth or the job isn’t what they thought it would be. They leave as soon as they find a better fit.
How do you hire people the right way? How do you find talent well suited for your organization and its open job position?
Remember these 3 simple tips
(1) Develop and Finalize a Thorough Job Description.
Craft a job description that matches your need, using the two most critical modes:
- Use the right template from the beginning, each and every time you create a position, to ensure that all information necessary is covered; and
- Train employees to create their own descriptions, because they know their job better than anyone.
Without a clear job description, when employees discover that a lot more is expected of them, frustration and stress result. Draft a description that is not too generalized—vagaries only hurt your organization and catch new hires off guard.
At high-performance organizations, employees know why they are there and what their specific job duties are. The description should note expectations of the job, skills or education needed, and duties and related responsibilities; plus, who they report to, and when. Include how they will be evaluated, and who will train them or be available to consult if they run into trouble.
Realistically, not everything can be covered in a job description, add a segment stating that related duties and responsibilities may arise or exist that are not detailed in the job description. Otherwise, a worker may take advantage of a concise description to avoid putting in the necessary extra effort by claiming, “That’s not my job.”
(2) Filter Your Resumes
A filter is created from the core requirements of the job description. It gives the resume screener a baseline to efficiently weed out resumes and applications that don’t meet the minimum qualifications of the descriptions. Consider outsourcing the screening process to a professional firm that will funnel the best prospects to you, or enlist someone to handle the slush pile of applications, and then feed you the cream of the crop. Filtering the process is important.
(3) Memorialize the Recruiting Process
Develop key steps to use in the process every time to ensure recruitment efficiency and fairness. Consider including the steps within these four categories as you create your own organizational recruitment process:
How your candidate pool is created (job description, advertising, screening, etc.)
How the interview process is conducted (interview questions, background check consent, candidate evaluation forms, etc.)
How a selection is made (who decides on the new hire, how are they and other candidates notified, etc.)
The elements of your hiring process (pre-employment physical, drug and alcohol testing, notifications, etc.)
It pays to spend the time and money up front to ensure a well-tuned process. An outside Human Resources firm can set up all the details involved in your recruitment and hiring process to streamline and maximize the procedure. The result will be a clear and useful tool to boost organizational performance and save costs.
In His Name HR helps organizations build high performance Human Resources programs. Visit them at In HIS Name HR or e-mail them here.
Mark A. Griffin is the founder and chief consultant of In His Name HR LLC. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.