Some wise guy said that “Work is something you do, and not something you have to travel to”. Probably correct in the essence that many employees drive to work, and the moment they get their coats off, they grab a coffee and read the paper for fifteen minutes. This mythical word “work” has become linked with a place we go to, rather than an act we have to perform. “Honey I’m off to work.” or “That’s the work calling” are expressions which have seeped into our subconscious over the years. Well the positions are changing as more and more office personnel in Online Jobs are being made to Work From Home.
With this relocation from the office, managers are now faced with no physical personnel in the premises and therefore no immediate way of seeing what their people are working on(or not working on) as is the case. Internet Business has always been like this, so conceivably other market sectors need to evaluate how these web based companies supervise their people. Chances are that they have implemented “Management by Objectives” to set goals and appraise their staff by. It makes sense, as managers cannot monitor what their people are up to if they now Work From Home some thirty odd miles away.
This move to remote working is a huge adjustment for managers as well as staff. The opinion that a lot of managers will have, is that their people will be less hard working if they have no face to face supervision. Clearly that may be the case, but in a ordinary office it is reckoned that over an hour a day is frittered away by staff chatting at the photocopier or with smoking breaks etc. It is really up to the manager and the employee to sit down before they depart the office and set out some procedures, some goals and some set times to appraise progress. Whether you agree with Management by Objectives or not, it does appear a way of ensuring both parties know what needs to be done and by when. How it is accomplished is another matter, and I think some latitude needs to be given to staff who Work From Home. It is a big adjustment for them, particularly if their previous Online Jobs were in a sizeable office with lots going on and lots of social contact.
Undoubtedly without some type of suitable appraisal scheme, people that work in some type of the Internet Business, may be discounted for promotion, because they are no longer seen back at HQ. That is where first rate MBO’s can be utilized to compare people doing similar work, regardless whether their Online Jobs are in the main city office or miles away in a suburban semi-detached house. It is a new mode of working so there will be slip ups, but with any luck lessons will be learnt. After the initial bedding in period, managers may find that remote employees are in reality more productive. One such analysis from CompTIA found that two thirds of companies indicated that productivity had risen.
So although not conclusive, it does seem that productivity might not be as big an issue as managers thought. One thing is for sure managers in any sort of Internet Business will have to rely on their staff to do what is called for and it’s up to them to manage them accordingly through “Management by Objectives”.