Can anyone telecommute?
A blog post by Scott Behson of Father’s Work and Family about the considerations needed when setting up flexible work environments really got me thinking: this remote work isn’t for everybody.
Scott suggests that one important aspect of building a flexible workplace is Person Diagnosis. That is, assessing individuals for their ability to flex-work.
I think this very point is missed by many when looking at flexible work. Many companies are saying if I allow Steve to flex-work, then I have to allow Joe to do it as well. The truth is, Joe may not be well suited to this at all.
I faced this as a manager many times. I had some employees who were well suited to work from home, and others who would be completely unproductive. Equality be damned, I didn’t allow flexible work for those potentially unproductive employees.
What makes me cringe is that my company just announced the closing of a number of small offices with everyone being designated as a remote worker now. Wow, are we sure everyone is suited to that?
I doubt it, but maybe that’s part of the plan? (RIF through attrition?) I believe this may have been part of Yahoo’s plan, albeit in reverse. (You may remember that Yahoo banned remote working about a year ago).
In a future post, I will discuss some characteristics of a good remote worker or candidate. In the meantime, what has been your experience with a one-size fits all teleworking policy?