It’s a hot and sticky summer and a lot of people will be wondering about home working during their commute to and from the office. According to ACAS, the number of employees working from home in office-type jobs, or roles involving travel where home is used as a base, is steadily increasing.
Home working is just one of the many flexible working arrangements present in today’s work force, other arrangements include changing from full time to part time work, compressing working hours, self-rostering, changing part time hours or even term time work. Home working is distinguishable on one key factor; the worker’s absence from the work place whilst carrying out their working duties.
According to the Small Office/Home Office Workers Report 30.5% of UK employees work from home every day, a small number considering that a 2012 CIPD report revealed that 72% of the employers surveyed believed that implementing flexible working practices had a positive impact on staff engagement, and 73% felt it had a positive impact on employee motivation.
And the demand from Employees is there. An estimated 14.1 million people in Britain have revealed they want flexibility in their working hours or location according to a survey conducted by Timewise while online research byCartridgePeople.com has revealed that nearly 57% of workers believe they are more productive when working from home.
How do we make Home working work for employer and employee?
It’s recognised that home working doesn’t suit everyone. Home workers need to be self-motivated and trusted to manage their own work whilst working away from the office. Typically, employers might want to consider the punctuality and personal habits of employees based in the work place before granting a request for home working as this is hard to measure and manage remotely.
So – how can you measure the performance of home workers?
- Through observing the quality of their work, for example whether the worker is frequently asked to re-do much of their work.
- Considering whether the worker is completing tasks in a timely manner and meeting deadlines. Consider also whether the worker’s time spent on work tasks is comparable to their office based counterparts.
- Reflect on the worker’s performance objectives, specifically whether they are meeting their objectives.
- Carrying out client surveys to enquire about the level of service the worker has given your clients.
- Conducting random checks such as reviewing the workers telephone calls, email exchanges or internet usage.
- Monitor the worker’s creativity and the value they add to the workforce.
What else can you do to make home working as effective as possible?
- Personal Contact – one of the fears Home workers have is isolation. Consider setting up regular team events either face to face or online, bring the worker into the office / set up an online meeting on Day 1 to meet the team and ensure regular time for 1:1 catch ups is scheduled (and stuck to).
- Getting to know each other – meetings can be very task focused, when you’re managing Home workers it’s important to ensure that there is time for conversation too. Maybe ask about the best thing that’s happened to them that day or week or ask them to talk about one thing that is challenging them.
- Understanding individual roles – ensure the worker has a clear job description and organogram showing how the roles fit together.
- Establishing clear objectives & team goals – Home workers should have objectives from day 1 and understand how they fit into the purpose and vision of the team and deliver team objectives. Required standards / expectations should be clear and shorter timescales can be helpful.
- Communication channels – Agree the best times for contact and which methods to use when. What should workers email about, what should they phone about? What can they handle on their own and not tell their manager about, what should they handle on their own and then contact their manager and what must they absolutely contact their manager about? Agree how questions can be raised and how feedback will be provided. Agree team rules about communication, for example, when to cc, when to email rather than phone.
- Set clear ground rules – agree hours of work, attendance at meetings, communication response times.
- Develop a Home Working policy – ACAS have a template you can use, alternatively contact the team at Forbury People who will be delighted to help you.
For further information on how our HR consultants can support you with performance management, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Authors: Natalie Wood & Lynne Irwin (HR Consultant).
Forbury People Ltd