If a remote employee is unavailable, it’s easy to assume they’re up to no good but one HR head says that’s the wrong approach.
Thanks to remote working and flexible hours, employees aren’t always available when you’d like them to be – however, that doesn’t mean leaders should assume staff are being unproductive.
Krisha Buehler is the HR manager at BELAY – the firm has over 70 employees, all of whom work from home – she says adopting a position of mistrust is one of the worst thing leaders can do.
“There are a lot of times where you could assume someone is not online because they’re off doing something they shouldn’t be but that doesn’t help anyone and it’s often not the truth,” says Beuhler.
In fact, a 2016 survey of remote workers found that 91 per cent feel more productive when working from home compared to in the office. Further, a Connect Solutions study found that 77 per cent of remote workers get more done in less time thanks to fewer distractions.
“We’ve found that when you give people the freedom to work in their own space which is comfortable to them, and at the times that they’re the most productive, you get a lot more from them,” says Beuhler.
Despite the evidence, many organisations still fear their employees will slack off or slip out of the home office if there isn’t someone there to keep an eye on them.
Atlanta-based Buehler admits it’s a challenge the company faces every day but says staff and leaders do their best to combat suspicion by actively assuming the best, rather than the worst.
“We’re really intentional about running to those challenges so they don’t become a problem,” Beuhler tells HRM. “So we choose to go a different direction and fill the gap with trust – that means telling yourself that maybe the reason someone isn’t getting back to you is because they’re in a meeting or on a call.”