Friday, April 15, 2011

Plus One for Telecommuting!

I've seen great, and not-so-great, work from employees working away from the office. Actually, I've seen the same from employees working from the office. Telecommuting in and of itself is not the issue.

This means it's time to take another look at your applicant pool, without the focus on working from the office.

I know I've gone different ways on this in the past .... I do feel there are real merits to sitting in the same space, hearing what people are kvetching about, seeing how people react when certain projects or deadlines are mentioned, and seeing who is getting what information, for example. People connect in a visceral way in meatspace.

However, especially in this job market, its time to consider that the problem might be more about management and less where people are sitting.

Current applicants shouldn't all now expect to work from home! But, we do walk the walk. We have an employee that physically comes into the office just 2 days a week. Another that works in the office weeks at a time, and then will work from another state for a couple weeks. Still another works full time from Japan.

Fact: these employees are very talented and can deliver value with this relationship.

Instead of focusing on finding people who can work out of your office, focus on finding the best person for the job. Yes, some jobs need to be done in the office. But, keep an open mind. Try to focus on connecting to remote employees in new ways. It's easy to have employees attend meetings virtually. Set up a monitor and speakers for a virtual head. Concentrate more on communicating and setting and managing expectations and deliverables.