Ninety-five percent (95%) of employers offer work-from-home or hybrid work arrangements for jobs that can be performed from home. During the pandemic, work-from-home was a matter of public safety. Now it’s about productivity. Selecting who should work from home goes beyond having a quiet home office and a fast internet connection. There’s science behind the psychology of remote work. While teachable and trainable, only job candidates and employees who demonstrate a Readiness to Work from Home are likely to do so effectively. What are those psychological characteristics and work skills? A variety of factors are involved.
Are employees working at home productive?
Most employees in jobs that can be done from home work from home. According to SHRM.org, employers expect hybrid work arrangements and work-from-home to remain unchanged in 2023.
But productivity is the greatest concern employers have of their employees working from home. A 2022 survey by Microsoft of 20,000 people in 11 countries found that “85% of leaders say that the shift to hybrid work [and by association work-from-home] has made it challenging to have confidence that employees are being productive.” Marc Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, announced on March 15, 2023, “An internal analysis of employee performance data suggests that engineers who work in person get more done” (Capot, 2023). A 2023 article by Kathryn Mayer, Amazon Nixes Employees’ Petition Against Return to Office, serves as another example, among many, of employers reinforcing their return-to-office policies in spite of employee protests. Return-to-office policies, requiring employees to work from corporate offices on most days of the week, don’t fully solve productivity concerns. Employees still need to have Readiness to Work from Home.
Job design and workflow matter, but it’s not that simple!
Some jobs are better suited to be performed in-office than at home. For example, managing a manufacturing production line from home is not practical. But procuring raw materials from home is highly doable. To perform a job equivalently at home or in the office, the job design and workflow must enable both settings. For example, employees need to have the same exact software, hardware and work tools whether in a corporate office or a home office.
But homes are filled with distractions, and monitoring what employees do throughout the day is challenging. Just because a job can be performed effectively from home doesn’t mean everyone can perform effectively from home.
So, what should employers do?
Select job candidates and employees who have demonstrated a Readiness to Work from Home.
Readiness to Work from Home is a psychological construct involving a variety of characteristics and work skills. All of which are teachable and trainable. Job candidates and employees with a Readiness to Work from Home are able to work effectively and productively in both remote and hybrid jobs.
Five essential characteristics and work skills to look for in job candidates and employees with a Readiness to Work from Home are:
- Communication Skills: Effective communication is essential for remote work. The ability to communicate clearly, ask questions, and provide feedback can help employees stay on track and feel connected to their team.
- Self-Motivation: Remote work requires self-discipline and self-motivation. Employees who are self-starters and able to manage their time effectively are more likely to be successful in a remote work environment.
- Technical Competence: Remote work relies heavily on technology, so employees must be comfortable with the tools and software used in their role. Additionally, they should have a good internet connection and reliable hardware to work efficiently.
- Adaptability: Flexibility and adaptability are crucial when working remotely. Employees must be able to adapt to changing circumstances, such as working across different time zones or dealing with technology issues.
- Integrity and Trustworthiness: Remote work requires a high degree of integrity and trust between employees and managers. Employers should look for employees who have a proven track record of reliability, responsibility, and trustworthiness. In other words, people who do the right thing even when no one is watching.
Need help hiring, training and selecting employees who are ready to work successfully from home? Want to learn how to do this better? We here at The WorkPlace Group are ready to help. For more information, please click here to contact us today.