What we’re all too polite to say about remote working

I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t buy into all these articles going on about how to ‘engage’ and ‘support’ your remote workers. I’m hearing from Director’s every day about the realities of home working for teams that have never done it before.

What most leaders are too polite to say openly is that they are worried that the same amount of work isn’t being done, never mind more work because of travel time and normal office place distractions aren’t there.

So, the stories that are filling my day are: I’m sure he’s taking a much longer break going for a run and then having lunch; that’s got to take longer right? Never mind the supermarket stories: no one’s going to queue up later so they’re doing it 9 –5, then the big one at the moment, how do I know if anyone’s working longer hours – not because I want them to but let’s face it, many of us are homeschooling/amusing the kids at the moment so that’s got to take time out of the day. Underlying the moan is fear… these people care about their employees, they aren’t being petty, they just know that businesses more than ever need to be productive and efficient so they can ride the impending downturn. Add to this the lack of control and you can see their point.

Whilst some of us focus on engaging remote workers (which I’m all for by the way), we can’t ignore the fact that HR and IT departments don’t often work together! Most companies have simply panicked, got IT involved to transition to remote working (some better than others), and now HR are working on engagement, it sounds disconnected because it is.

If you take a board-level view, the question is: Why can’t the systems that we use to run our business track usage and productivity, providing management information to Directors so they have peace of mind the right stuff is being done at the right time and helping HR teams to see where someone needs help getting their head around remote working?

The frustrating thing is these systems are out there, but most companies don’t think about this when they’re choosing a system and so many salespeople aren’t confident enough to talk about these tracking aspects of their software (if they have them). Let’s hope after all this, the service management tech industry make this kind of functionality standard practice and the sales teams are brave enough to ensure IT, HR and all departments work together on choosing and using the system that supports their business operation.