As competition for IT talent heats up, more departments are offering telecommuting as a low-cost benefit to attract and retain staffers. But letting the wrong people work from home can lead to a productivity disaster.
Not every employee is a good fit for a telecommuting position. It requires a different set of skills than working in an office, and someone who does a job well on-site might not be able to perform the same duties as effectively at home.
Here are some signs staffers aren’t cut out to telecommute, according to TLNT.com:
- They don’t proactively communicate — The people who prefer to sit back and wait for co-workers and supervisors to get in touch with them are best suited to work in the office, where communication is easier because of proximity.
- They don’t collaborate — It seems like a “lone wolf” employee would do well working at home. But that’s not the case, many experts say. Since collaboration can be tough when some or all of the members of a team work remotely, the best telecommuters are often the employees who recognize how important it is to work with others, because they’ll take the initiative to collaborate.
- They hate ambiguity — Some staffers are just too dependent on rigid schedules and clear expectations. If employees can create that type of environment on their own, that’s great, but those who need to wait for instructions or have the boss nearby should stay in the office.
- They don’t have strong writing skills — A large chunk of communication with telecommuting employees takes place via email, so being able to get points across clearly in writing is a must.
Choosing an ill-suited employee to telecommute could lead to lost productivity and lower morale among both telecommuters and their co-workers back in the office.
When managers are looking for staffers to work from home on a regular basis, it could be a good idea to conduct a trial period first.