Working at Home versus Working from Home in 2020 (PART 2)
Working from/at home has been a convenience for some and an inconvenience for others. The preceding article ‘Working from Home versus Working at Home (PART 1)’ alludes to the fact that during this crisis, our present home conditions have impacted the way we work but essentially we are working remotely. Further, it questions how leaders set up their employees for success during this crisis and how we as leaders and human resources professionals continue in good stride. Performance is, therefore, a major concern surrounding this new norm. I had the pleasure of speaking with Ms. Alisha Sealy, who provided clarity and quite a thought-provoking conversation on performance challenges from the perspective of both the employee and the employer (leader) based on her past and present experience.
How do employers truly measure their employees’ performance when they are away from the office? Also, how do we as leaders support them under these new circumstances? The answer to this question – we continue to measure performance by results! For those managers who practiced micromanagement; this presents a challenge. Results are a testament of performance. Did the employee reach the deadline? Do their submissions reflect clarity on the subject matter? Have they met their quota / target? The end result usually speaks volumes even though there may be room for slight deviation. If this is the case, then why is performance management such a sore thumb?
As leaders, our goal is to manage the work product where we design a framework which allows managers to see the entire work process from commencement to completion and not solely rely on continuous monitoring of the employee. Additionally, managers must provide clear expectations of what is required to make the process a success and have resources in place to ensure that your team can perform at optimum capacity. Leaders should monitor their production intently rather than human resources.
Ethical behavior is a key element to consider as well. Standards established at this time should not differ drastically from standards previously set. Furthermore, leaders should facilitate open communication to allow transparency. This in turn helps to build relationships and creates trust. Staying connected is vital as well. Whether out of office or in office, the connection with your team should remain the same as technology enables us to stay connected virtually. Also, leaders should coach their employees and be open to feedback.
Alternatively, as the employee, one requires self-management; having self-discipline and establishing a routine that works best. When are you most energetic? What type of business are you employed in? What are the most critical hours your work is required? Once an employee is aware of these essentials then they are on their way to productivity.
During this time some employees may choose to take advantage of the current situation, while others may be having challenges. As the employee, please keep your employer updated. Feel free to keep management aware of your requirements.
In conclusion, having good leadership is fundamental. It provides a solid foundation, clarification and ensures accountability. The relationship between the employer and the employee can be described as a ‘give and take relationship’ and notably, trust needs to be earned. If the aforementioned measures were not in place at your organisation, now would be the time to have candid conversations with your team, set goals and expectations for employees and create an action plan. Your employees need you. Lead them to success.
Written by Kerri-Ann Brathwaite | Employer Services Intern (ESI) | WORK Consultancy Inc. | Barbados