If you can’t make telecommuting work, blame it on the manager.
I believe that a good manager can develop measurable objectives with employees. I believe it is a weak manager who is afraid of allowing employees to work from home because they cannot watch them for productivity. I believe that if a job can be accomplished outside of the traditional office walls, or outside of the traditional office hours, an employee should be able to execute tasks to reach their objectives, at the place or at the times they choose.
I have proven this in my own company.
My company is located in Dallas/Fort Worth – a BIG metroplex. I have employees that are brilliant at what they do who would have to commute over an hour if they came into the office. So they don’t. At least not very often. 80% of Aquire staff telecommute at least one day a week and 30% make it into the office no more often than once a week. There is great camaraderie, fantastic productivity and HUGE employee engagement among our employees. Employees use instant messenger, email, collaborative work-spaces, phone calls and meetings to connect. They know each other well. We break bread together at company lunches at least monthly.
It is amazing to me how a company will accept a sales rep living in their territory not coming into the office each day but other workers are tethered to their desk. There are many things wrong with that picture. Trust your employees, give them measurable objectives and let them do their thing. I know not every job is built in a way that can allow for telecommuting, however, far more jobs could thrive with a little more flexibility.
I believe that family and sanity are critical to a healthy work life. This is not just a woman’s issue, this is a planet issue. Families need to know each other. Kids need a parent at the day time chorus event. Aging parents need help understanding the doctor’s words. You need to get your teeth fixed without waiting for the only Saturday appointment available (in six months). So get your job done. Be where your life needs you to be and communicate with your boss and your employees to make it successful.
Oh by the way, between conference calls – make sure you move the laundry from the washer to the dryer. The cub scout shirt is needed tonight !