The option to telecommute to the workplace has been enthusiastically adopted by both employees and employers alike, but does not come without its challenges. Just as there are many benefits to having remote employees, such as broadening your talent pool and cutting down on office costs, employers should also be cautious when deciding if they are ready to have remote workers. If you feel like your business can benefit from allowing remote work like the 66% of companies that Forbes reports are already offering this option, make sure you understand what makes a productive remote employee.
Qualities that help remote workers succeed
For some businesses, it is unrealistic to offer work from home to the majority of employees. After all, most offices do need a physical presence to operate smoothly. This can conflict with the latest State of Remote Work report by Buffer where nearly all employees that responded wanted the option to telecommute at least some of the time. The dilemma for most businesses is finding the balance between allowing work from home as desired by employees and keeping an office running efficiently. If you are deciding whether an employee is ready to telecommute, consider if they possess these qualities that would help them succeed as a remote worker.
Independent - First and foremost, remote workers must have the ability to work independently. They need to make their own decisions but acknowledge when they need support. The option to telecommute is most likely not appropriate for a new hire who is trying to learn the scope of their role and how they fit in with your company. Consider an employee who has excelled in their position and no longer needs constant supervision. They could appreciate the option to work from home and feel encouraged that their employer trusts them to work independently.
Communicator - Just because an employee is working remotely does not mean that they should go off the grid. An employee should be as easily accessible from home as they would be in the office. Employees in consideration for remote work should be comfortable using multiple methods of communication, like chats, email and mobile applications. If you have observed your employee utilizing communication tools appropriately while in the office it is a good sign that they would be able to do the same from home.
Organized - An organized employee usually makes for an efficient employee. Allowing an employee to work outside of a traditional office space means trusting them to stay on track and minimize the unique distractions that come with working at home. As Forbes points out, making sure an employee has a dedicated space free of distractions like television and noise disturbances can be an essential factor to understand if your employee is prepared to work from home. An ideal work space can be different for everyone, from a home office to a coffee shop. Have a conversation to make sure they are working in an environment where they can be most productive and note if their office organizational habits would align with working remotely.
One thing is for certain, telecommuting is not just a trend. The most recent Future Workplace Report by Upwork projected that by 2028, 73% of all teams will have remote workers. This is mainly due to the changing workforce of younger employees and the ease at which technology allows for interconnection and constant communication. Allowing employees to work remotely requires an enormous amount of trust from both parties involved, but can also be mutually beneficial. While in the office, take notice of employees who have the qualities that could help them succeed as a remote worker.