Studies across all industries show that over fifty percent of the workforce would like the opportunity to work from home at least one or two days a week. In construction, often those assigned to the jobsite versus the main office are considered remote workers. In this article we are going to discuss the management and support roles that are office based and what both the employee and employer want to consider before granting an employee the ability to work remotely.
Last year is when we started to see employees register with us that already had the flexibility to work from home or remotely at least a couple days a week. Job orders are now coming in offering an employee to work from home as it is becoming increasingly difficult to find top talent that not only have the skillset but live within a viable commute from the company’s office locations.
For over a decade I worked from an office attached to my home allowing me the flexibility of being there for my children and my home responsibilities while still working full-time. First-hand I experienced the pros and cons. Currently, Daniele Longo, our employee that creates these amazing blog articles, works only two days a week in the office and works remotely the rest of the time so she can have the flexibility to care for her family.
The number one item to consider before working remotely for an employer—or if you are an employer offering that perk to an employee—is how will you build and maintain your business relationships.
Relationships are built with time and trust.
The most successful scenarios are typically when an employee works remotely after they have worked collaboratively within their office environment first. It can be a natural transition when life’s circumstances put both the employee and employer in a position to choose whether they no longer work together or grant this privilege.
A good share of jobsite-based employees come to us to change employers because they feel like they are an island on the jobsite and the people at the main office get all the attention from various departmental leadership.
Any way you look at it, construction is still a face to face industry and remote workers most likely do not share the bond that others who work together on a daily basis do. There are always those individuals that excel at working remotely as they have the instinct to know when and how to communicate effectively.
According to Inc. magazine the 7 characteristics you need to be able to work from home are:
- Good communication skills
- Ability to self-evaluate
Some challenges you may face working from home will be managing distractions which can be anything from a knock at the door to regulating conversations with family and friends that know you are there. You will need self-discipline from television, social media, or even the buzzer on the washer prompting you to go do laundry. I know what you are thinking. Other than the laundry buzzer, you have the similar distractions at the office. The difference is that at the office there are others there to help you stay focused and keep you accountable.
Other difficulties can be resentment from co-workers who do not have the ability or approval to work from home and even resentment from your family that you are committed to work while at home.
That brings us to what an employer needs in place prior to implementing a remote workforce:
- Clear Expectations
- Communication Protocol
- Ability to Focus and Monitor Results vs. Activity
- Regular Office Engagement
- Validation for the Remote Role
In some ways remote workers are sheltered from office politics and the idiosyncrasies of others that don’t necessarily choose to spend time with each other every day. A remote workforce for an employer can mean less office square footage, elimination of the commute dispute, and an increase in productivity due to enhanced communication protocols and technology in the office.
Today’s technologies such as Time Doctor are used by companies such as Apple, Home Depot, KPMG and other corporations and tie into your other software programs. The software even has the capability of taking screenshots of the employee while they work.
There is a lot to discuss and consider in regards to this topic. It is hopefully obvious that anyone who needs to monitor workers and other personnel, physically oversee or do work on site, or needs management and direct supervision are not candidates for remote work opportunities.
Flex time like Daniele does is typically the most successful as they have the opportunity for personal connection in an office environment while having the flexibility to complete their responsibilities. It also allows them to continue to work while traveling. I moved to an office space once my youngest was graduating from high school. Although some days I think working from home made me more productive, the interaction and dynamics of engaging with a cohesive work team then coming home with clear separation between work and home has its advantages.
Before asking for the ability to work remotely or with flex time make sure you think it through and you and your employer are prepared to work together through the transition. It is much like the onboarding process after starting a new job. You will have challenges that need to be overcome. You have a job you were hired to do and your ability to perform that job should not be affected by where the location you work from if remote or flex time is right for you.
To the Productive You – Office or Remote,