Monthly Archives: January 2018

Focus Group Discussion – Remote work / WFH – January 2018

Productivity definitely depends on the person, their personality and discipline.  Some people thrive inside the 4 walls of the office and others can lose themselves in a flurry of productivity at home.  Key word “some”.

It is agreed, the office allows for focused work where systems are already set up to allow for better flow and face to face collaboration builds relationships and strengthens the team.  However, some people are easily distracted by others so WFM offers the comfort of being secluded in an environment they can control.

I think it goes without much saying that new team members should spend some time in the office to build rapport with the other team members and get up to speed on the position and responsibilities prior to taking advantage of the WFH benefit.

Here are a couple of things to think about prior to allowing remote work:  Has the employee proven to be trustworthy and productive in an office environment?  Has the employee shown good time management skills in the office?

Several of our respondents do not have a formal policy and it’s left up to the Manager’s discretion.  The Manager needs to provide clear direction and expectations and they are responsible to ensure their department runs smoothly to meet its goals.

Here are some tips and tools to assist in making WFH/remote work successful:

  • Policies and practices should be in place to ensure productivity and effective communication. How is progress/work tracked?
  • Use the variety of technologies to keep in touch; video conferencing, daily group chats, Skype, o365, shared documents, etc…
  • The employee must be logged into the system, provide a summary of work completed and must be available during business hours and attend meetings via webinar.

One manager stated that she doesn’t look over the shoulders of the employees who are sitting in the office and she would not do that with a remote employee as they should be treated the same.  Certainly something to think about….

Having a good balance of WFH and being in the office is most common among our respondents.  Those who currently offer a benefit of WFH do not see their policy changing.  Companies that do not currently offer a WFH option foresee implementing some sort of WFH opportunity in the future.  Studies have shown that remote employees are more satisfied with their roles.

Some agreed upon closing sentiments:

  • Nothing can replace the face to face interaction for creating stronger teams, collaboration and capturing nuance. Relationships and trust build quicker when you are working personally with someone.
  • If you can’t trust your employees to hold themselves accountable, then don’t hire them!
  • If you’re not currently offering a WFH policy, then it’s something to look into. Offering this kind of benefit / flexibility will help with retention of employees.