As a remote worker or potential work at home employee you need to be prepared for some resistance.
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Just like the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention can bring a pound of cure. It’s no different in a work setting. Always put yourself in your employers shoes and be prepared to answer concerns they may have prior to them bringing these concerns up.
To summarize, think like your boss thinks.
How do you do that? What I find helpful is imagining myself in my bosses shoes, what concerns would I have with remote workforce management? What policies and politics would I have to deal with? Then work through your answers from there.
Luckily for you, I’m going to get you started with five of their concerns and how to respond.
1. How do I know my employees are working and not sleeping, goofing off, and so forth?
How do you know they are not goofing off at work at an office? Studies show that less than 50% of an office workers hours are productive, and personally I think that is a generous number.
Your boss will know very quickly that you are working remotely and not remotely working based on the quality, quantity, and timeliness of your work output. If you get it done according to expectations, then who cares?
2. If I let you work remotely I’ll have to let everyone work remotely.
Really? If you pay one person “x” dollars per year, or give someone “x” vacation days, do you need to give everyone the same? No, of course not. This is work, not some egalitarian science fiction fantasy.
Good performers can be trusted to work as or more effectively when remote, bad performers should be fired. I would further respond with “Yes”, anyone who can work remotely should be allowed to, it only makes sense.
3. Human Resources policy blah blah blah doesn’t permit employees to work remotely.
That’s to bad, that policy needs to be updated to reflect the twenty-first century.
Do you really want to stay with an organization that does not allow work at home? I would start looking for another job or consider going it on your own as a freelancer.
The reality is that some resistance can not be overcome, so why keep swimming against the current?
4. What if I need to reach you and your out running errands, in the shower, drinking beer on your patio (just kidding)?
Working remotely does not mean working without structure, just working without walls.
You need to communicate when you will be working and how you can be reached. Really its no different from if you work in an office, if you go on vacation you let everyone know and setup an out of office message.
5. What about security? How do I know you won’t be hacked into and have company materials stolen?
Most office workers already work somewhat remotely either when traveling for work or responding to work issues after hours. A good security policy will protect information with secure VPN software, anti-virus software, and so forth.