Can we trust flexible homeworkers?

According to research less than 8% of managers trust their homeworking employees to do the work effectively.

If you don’t trust your employees why are you still employing them?

Isn’t the real reason that supervisors and middle managers have ‘supervised’ on the basis of presence at work, activity and looking keen?

All too few employers measure outputs from a job rather than inputs. Turning up and looking keen is a long way from being an effective employee but it is something that supervisors feel they can measure. If we turn to measuring outputs – the results of the job, it is harder to supervise – some people work hard and long to get the same results as other achieve more easily.

Home working depends on not only trust, but also efficient measures of what is work, what is good work, what is enough work and what is excellent. Some jobs can be done anytime (as long as deadlines are met) others need availability to the public for specified times. This presents an enormous challenge for supervisors but it can be met.

Since the 1980s we have helped businesses develop contracts and handbooks for homeworkers that help everyone know where they stand and what is needed. It is so much easier to trust someone when you have got some meaningful measures of what is expected and how it will be measured – then everyone knows where they stand.

With constant pressure on employers to grant flexible working to additional groups of people, the truth is the number of homeworkers/flexible workers/unmeasured input workers can only rise, as the old style jobs and industries continue to stumble and are replaced by more entrepreneurial models. With that new and flexible world comes creativity and the opportunity to trust, or be deceived. The winners in the new employment game will be those who can make home working work for them at all levels of seniority.

1 Comment

Filed under contract, flexible working

One response to “Can we trust flexible homeworkers?

  1. Thank you for this perspective Annabel. Leaders might be pleasantly surprised when they decide to trust and give more flexibility to their employees. I’ve found that, the more independence and decision-making ability we give our employees, the more they realize that we actually value them. This tends to build employees who are motivated from within and more likely to do well.

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