During the Clean Air Act mandatory employee trip reduction days in Houston, we instituted a tele-working program as part of our menu of options for supervisors and managers to contribute to the organizational goals.
The program offered leaders the tools to better manage through performance management vs. by seeing warm bodies in a chair. Managers liked the tools and used them well. This perk alone had great response, particularly for those in the tech-related areas. As with many of the other perks, employees gave back more in appreciation of a perk that really served their needs. There were extended hours of service, enhanced quality and volume, and happier employees.
However, in our documentation we told supervisors that not all employees were tele-work candidates. Selecting an employee with strong needs for social interaction would not be a good choice. There would be a likelihood the employee would feel isolated and performance would be impacted.
The isolation factor is key and keeping the connection with the team can be served through scheduled meetings at the office or other activities that today can be carried on online through video conferencing and other options.
Other options introduced were the skills for team management. Team management allowed leveraging resources to put teams together by project and not by section. This would allow for team members to be anywhere in the world with an internet connection. This made teams adaptable, increased team member experience, and successfully generated creativity and innovation. Managing these fluid teams built on the foundation of the management tools we supported.
So it is important to understand how tele-working can serve your organization. Employee selection and good management tools are the key to its success. Contrary to what some might think , tele-working is not dead.