Homeworking has always been something that many corporate companies have been uneasy about. It received a lot of bad press following the high profile announcement that Yahoo would be removing all homeworking privileges. Perhaps a company using an online course software or collaboration tool can help remedy the issue, even though the cracks in the homeworking paradigm had begun appearing long before the controversial Yahoo announcement. A study by Wakefield Research made some quite worrying findings about lack of efficiency and productivity while homeworking. They found that 43% of homeworkers watch TV and 20% play video games while “officially” working from home. This study shows that there is more than just a crack but a gaping chasm in the homeworking paradigm.
But, throughout the years with the help of more effective tools and better training methods, home working hasn’t been cast off yet. Flexible working brings many benefits in that it is an excellent attraction and retention tool. It is also a cost effective and practical way to expand your business into a new city, country or continent.
So, there are sound business reasons to make home-working work for your business – and it can be made to work, for example, look at the millions of self employed homeworkers who deliver great products and services to companies throughout the world.
How do freelancers manage to make it work while homeworking employers are struggling? It’s simple and is linked to the compensation model, that is, a freelancer’s compensation is mostly linked to performance, that is if they don’t perform, they don’t get paid. Employees on the other hand tend to be compensated based on activity, that is, as long as they clock in and out, they will be paid, no matter how bad their performance might be.
Therefore, if employers want to encourage more productivity in their homeworking population, they should ideally move homeworkers to a more pay for performance model. For this transition to work effectively, managers will need to undergo specific training on how to set goals and manage staff on an output basis rather than a traditional activity based management model. They will need to develop a new leadership style, moving from a coaching/nurturing style more akin to a pace setting style, similar to managing a self-employed worker. This is therefore a great opportunity for the L&D function to make an intervention to help bring the homeworking paradigm back on track.