Modern Work Arrangement: Working From Home

In an ever-increasingly digital era, deciding when to send employees home to reach company goals has become a more prevalent question. As a talent manager, assigning employees to remote or at-home working conditions has become more than just an option – it may be the right decision for the organization. In an article from Talent author Ken Lahti, the decision to keep some talent at home instead of in the office has become a popular work force trend.

Attracting and retaining top talent is always a key goal for any organization. At-home work arrangements may be another tool to add to the belt when deciding how to best keep employees engaged with the company. Off site, remote and at-home work arrangements make sense for many different employee pools like phone-based customer service representatives, sales or support staff and technical writers. This also allows for a larger talent pool and can garner higher employee retention rates. The qualm is in the question of whether or not less one-on-one supervision and face-to-face contact will lead to better performance from the employee.

The business logic is that at-home workers save time and money on commuting, thereby achieving better work-life balance. They also get to work in the presumably idyllic comfort of their own homes. And in response to the trust and autonomy bestowed bestowed upon them, the at-home workforce performs better and stays with the company longer.

Theoretically, there’s potential for this to work well. The only way to be sure this arrangement is feasible is to be sure the right employees are assigned to these roles and that they have the right support needed to execute organizational goals. They key is to be sure that talent management processes match up with talent and business strategies. Is your organization equipped to manage and support a remote workforce? This sounds like it could get pretty messy pretty quickly.

The fact is that some people are predisposed or better equipped to be able to work successfully from home than others. Even among employees who have the skills to do the job, many would not be effective in work-at-home situations.

Let’s consider the challenges of an at-home work environment: there is almost no physical interaction with co-workers; there are tactical disadvantages because of the lack of face-to-face time with co-workers; there is a lack of daily social interaction; there is a lack of camaraderie between employees; and also importantly, the line between work life and non-work life can quickly and easily become fuzzy. Because of these factors, the at-home workforce requires a vastly larger amount of internal motivation.

For these workers, some sound advice might be that maintaining a separate workspace within the home can help them to focus on the job and work efficiently. Guide them with the direction that staying up-to-date with company policies and procedures will keep them sharp and that seeking out training opportunities will heighten their abilities to fulfill their role within the organization.

As a talent manager, it is crucial to note that a successful at-home worker must have a certain disposition toward their work. Not everyone is cut out for this type of position. A critical ability here is that the individual can create a very distinct difference between work and non-work life. Keeping work and non-work activities confined to different areas of the house can increase the likelihood of success in this situation. For example, breakfast happens only in the kitchen while work happens only in the study. Another distinct characteristic needed for this type of arrangement to be successful is that the individual is comfortable being both socially isolated and focused on the customer.

There is a scientific assessment of skills and competencies that can provide data to support decisions in regards to placement of employees in at-home work arrangements. There are three steps to follow to help you make this decision.

1. Business outcomes: Identify the business outcomes that drive performance in the role. This information can help clarify the sensibility of moving the work to remote delivery and also informs the choice of assessments.

2. Competencies and skills: Identify the work behaviors, including judgment and decision making, that drive successful performance in the role. This information is usually gathered through a rigorous job analysis, the results of which are documented in a formal report.

3. Assessments: Identify the tests, simulations, interviews and performance information that will be used to assess candidates or employees to objectively evaluate job-related competencies and skills.

How your organization assess your potential at-home workforce depends on many factors, including: the job type and level, the volume of candidates, the number of at-home positions and the level of urgency of which the positions must be filled, and how critical the position to the company and how important it is to get the right person for the role. You must take note of how much time you have to correctly fill the position.

There are all kinds of levels of information to examine when deciding if a candidate is qualified for an at-home position. Interviews, assessments, simulations and background checks are all ways to begin the process of deciding who would be best in this type of arrangement. This type of arrangement can be successful, the key is essentially selecting the right candidate. To read more about this modern work arrangement, click here to read the full article.

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