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Remote Employees: To Be Or Not To Be

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Remote Employees: To Be Or Not To Be

With research studies attributing positive results to employees working remotely, you may be wondering why you aren’t assigned such a schedule.

You’re not alone with 80 percent to 90 percent of the U.S. workforce saying they would like to telework at least part-time. And forty percent more U.S. employers offered flexible workplace options than they did five years ago. Still, only 7 percent make it available to most of their employees.

These statistics are good news if you plan on generating a case “to be a remote employee.” And yet wherever there is controversy, there is an equally persuasive argument to the “not to be a remote employee” discourse.

Large companies such a Yahoo, Aetna, and Bank of America are eliminating telecommuting positions from their employment rosters. Recently IBM withdrew a considerable number of remote employees from their ranks—not to mention Apple and Google who chose never to be the mix. In fact, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey shows the number of U.S. workers who worked partially or fully from home dropped to 22 percent in 2016.

Research attributes many of the corporate headaches originate from process breakdowns. Yes, people are part of the problem; however, when you drill down, lack of systems is the real culprit. Three reasons companies point to remote position failures:

  • Poor policy rollout
  • Immaturity of workers
  • Restricts collaborative relationships

Let’s address proactive overcoming tactics to shift corporate attitudes:

  • Environment Commitment:
    • Workspace: Create a designated office in your home to produce a productive environment for yourself. It should be a quiet, interruption-free space.
    • Desk-or-not-to-Desk: What is best for you? Some prefer stand-up workspaces; others favor sitting at a regular office desk; while still others aren’t keen on a desk at all. Choose what will have you feeling comfortable and productive.
  • Accountability Commitment:
    • Production: Initiate dialogue around the expectations your company has of a remote employee with explicit descriptions connected to each. Then, record it, so you, your boss, and human resources have a copy. And update it regularly as assignments are modified or added.
    • Accessibility: Managers typically lead through proximity check-ins. It’s your responsibility to stay connected, so your boss never questions your allegiance and contribution. Be proactive too much is never too much!
  • Relationship Commitment:
    • Success is always about relationships—it’s even more imperative when you’re working remotely. Staying out of the office isn’t entirely an option. How often do you intend to drop-in to be considered emotionally—not merely on paper—a team member?
    • Make video conferencing your friend. Building trust and connection with employees is essential to your continued success. It has to be a priority on your calendar. How frequently with whom?

Related: Why Curiosity is Such a Magical Trait for Charging up a Career

The bottom line is you’re accountable for becoming a boon to your business. And the success process begins as you think through how you, as a remote employee, will benefit your company—not just your lifestyle. Intentionally plan what systems you need to put in place that will lead to advantages for your company as well yourself. And then connect, connect, connect at all levels of the organization to garner a “can’t do without” status.

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