I found managers reluctant to accept remote work. I did it so. My main concern was that I felt impossible to measure how people work according to their skills. If I get 100 pieces of something per a day from one of them, is it enough, or he works only two hours a day to produce this, and in the rest he is sunbathing on the beach?

Then one of my employee told me that she is able to return from maternity leave as half time, but she cannot be present in the office. I knew her for many years, she is the most enthusiastic and valuable member of my team, so I decided to have a try, and she started to work from home in January, half time.

In the beginning the team was very open to accept her lack of presence, but some of them wanted to join the remote worker’s club. It’s still an issue how I can explain people again and again that they are not allowed to do what she does. Later they got used to it, but the information sharing was really ineffective. People in the office gathered to discuss something (it is very often since the team is working agile, SCRUM), and they didn’t call her to attend. Then we had a try with Skype, but the microphones of the headsets cannot transfer a discussion of a room of people. The best practice hasn’t been found, we have an acceptable state, but there are many areas to improve.

During this few month I realized an important thing. If the remote worker is a mother with a young baby, the telephone conversations need her presence have to be scheduled according to the baby’s schedule, else the conference is so loud with crying. In the occasions she needs to appear in the office carrying the baby the visit have to be shorter than 30 minutes between two breaks, because the baby or toddler cannot bear longer silent periods.

With keeping this in mind remote work can be almost as effective than the office one. I support it.

Advertisements