Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Telecommuting Can Work!

At MBS some members of our team have been telecommuting since 1990. I'm often asked how I know whether it's working for us. The unspoken question is, "How do I know I'm getting a full day of work in exchange for a full day of pay??

That is an excellent question, and one which every employer wrestles with-- whether their staff works in the office, on the road, or from home!  And the answer is the same regardless of where employees work: Does the amount of employee output meet or exceed the expectations of the employer?

Let's face it: even employees who work in offices can under-produce. They can waste time doing things their employer hasn't asked them to do, and their output suffers accordingly. That can also be true for employees who work on the road or from home. So, I recommend two things to help in this area:
  1. Employers, give your team clear guidance on what you believe they should be able to accomplish in the time they are at work. If they exceed your expectations, reward them for their diligence and capability! If they under-produce, let them find employment elsewhere that is better suited for their skill-set and motivation.
  2. Employees-- especially those who are Christians-- the Bible encourages you to do your work as though working for the Lord himself! Writing to those who were enslaved to their employers (a far worse condition of employment than most of us experience today), Paul said in Colossians 3:22-25: "Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism." NIV
And telecommuting has some significant advantages! Studies show that it increases employee morale and job enjoyment. And it reduces employer cost because of the reduction in office space that must be maintained.

Yes, telecommuting can work! It takes diligence and trust on the part of the employer, and needs to be matched by diligence and integrity on the part of the employee. But that's really true of any employer/ employee relationship, regardless of whether the location is an office, on the road, or at home.

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