Cy Wakeman, a contributor for Forbes, posted a wonderful piece talking about the decision of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer to ban working from home. In it Cy touched on something I wanted to expand on, hiring for accountability, and why it is so incredibly important when it comes to issues like this. The problem isn’t having employees that work remotely, nor is it wrong to want them to come in for some face time, however if you have to watch over them like a hawk to make sure they get their jobs done, then you hired the wrong employee, regardless of their work location.
It’s a balancing act, a difficult one. You have to find the right balance between in office and telecommuting time for staff, all while reaching your goals as an organization. Too little time in the office and you could be damaging your personal relationships and impromptu conversations, too much and you risk limiting your employees potential and driving them away to a more flexible organization. The difference between hiring a good employee and a bad employee is how difficult that balance is to find, and how closely you have to monitor the employee. A good employee is easy to manage, requires little monitoring, and will reach their goals without constant reminders.
As Wakeman said in her Forbes article, “Hire only the people who demonstrate that they don’t need to be monitored in order to actually produce results. This type of person shows up with a committed attitude. Mentally, he is “all in.” And he understands that the purpose of the flexible work environment is to provide benefits for both the organization and its employees. In other words, he knows he is not entitled to work from home. Rather, he is permitted to work from home only as long as it works for the organization.”
If you keep these key features in mind when hiring you will save yourself a lot of hardship down the road. Hiring the right employee means not having to constantly check on them, and not having to recall them back to the office because their work isn’t getting done. Poor performers will produce low quality work whether they are in the office or working remotely, so make sure you put in the effort when creating positions and hiring new staff.