HBR– Who is more engaged and more committed to their work and rates their leaders the highest?
A. People who work in the office
B. People who work remotely
If you picked A, you might be as surprised as the investment firm I worked with recently, which found in reviewing results of a 360-degree feedback process that the answer was, in fact, B.
Save this one for your arsenal when you finally have the courage to ask your boss about telecommuting. I can’t help if you’re consistently falling short of goals or your poor productivity is a persistent issue. If you’re taking care of business and being a cubicle monkey, I want to empower you to use this material to support your case for a flexible work schedule.
I hate to do this, but I could have predicted the outcome of this experiment and saved the participants a fair amount of time and speculation. For a few years now I’ve enjoyed a flexible work schedule that permitted me to work remotely. I accomplish more with my work day and it breaks up the monotony of an office routine. Does an afternoon nap sound tempting? Sure. If you cannot overcome those temptations then I don’t suggest telecommuting. The trick I use to avoid temptation is a great motivator: fear. I’m afraid to miss a call from a colleague or a client. Will they think I’m slacking-off? Fear is a great motivator and keeps me engaged while working remotely. The research highlighted many circumstances that help keep remote employees engaged:
- Proximity yields complacency – when you can’t yell to the office next door you’ll discover a new appreciation for the office.
- Absence forces you engage – it’s a lot different than playing Angry Birds while your colleague in the cube across from you offers a progress report on the project you should be working on.
- Use all of the tools that are available – employees waste 15-minutes chatting on IM about the next phase of a project, meanwhile the remote worker gets the same information on a 3-minute phone call and the project is complete ahead of schedule. (Produce those results on a few projects and you’ll be on the fast track for a nice promotion!)
- Fear of fumbling – nobody wants to be responsible for an incomplete assignment or project delays, especially when you work remotely. You’ll become more reliable and help hold others accountable.
Many professionals confess their inability to effectively work in a remote environment. Others appreciate the face-to-face interaction of an office environment. I found my niche in a dedicated home office space. Will that always be the case? Talk to me when I have a couple children running around the house and you may get a different response!