#WFH: Do You Have a Clear Purpose?
Employers have a need to know that their employees are performing effectively and efficiently. Some employers will require virtual workers to show up in the office at least a few days a week. In most cases, it is a token gesture. Face time visits give the employer a sense of control and the employee a physical and social presence. Does it increase performance or productivity? Probably not. Most virtual workers will tell you they visit the office for political reasons. They actually get more done at home. Schlepping to the office wastes a lot of time.
Technology has given us a different clock. We can always be connected. The communications are the challenge, not the connection. If you can’t manage by observation anymore, and the 40-hour workweek doesn’t exist, how can you keep track of work time? Work time has been replaced by performance and accomplishments. It is leadership’s job to set very clear objectives and communicate them effectively. These clear objectives must have accountability built in. They have to be marching orders, not a passive position statement. The balanced scorecard approach needs to apply to the individual and not just the C-Suite.
Smart people work best when they know what success looks like. This in no way stifles innovation or creativity. It does provide a vision and an expectation of success. Smart people like to know what is expected of them and then be given the resources, authority and flexibility to make it happen. Top performers will do backflips to meet and exceed the company’s expectations, but those expectations have to be communicated. Working in the virtual world requires a level of communication detail beyond what is needed in the face-to-face world. A smile and a handshake are not going to do it in the virtual environment. The virtual environment has too much space and details can easily fall through the cracks. Leadership must communicate clearly what the expectations are for performance and what the consequences are if those expectations are not met.
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