Do you know what the expectations are of you in the time that you spend working from home? If not, then you may want to take some time to really identify your personal ‘performance metrics.’
Defining performance metrics is easier for some than others and certain work is just not easy to identify as a set of individual tasks. Generally speaking, productivity is more difficult to quantify in the ‘information age’ than in the ‘industrial age’ (for example; if Joe Bloggs had to make 5 gizmos each day but on Wednesday he only made 4, then it was evident where Joe was at and what was expected of him on Thursday and Friday).
One of the things that remote working radically challenges is how our efficiency is managed and recorded and, in particular, with the often used gauge of measuring ‘output by input.’ With a remote worker not being there in the office, it is not easy for their manager to see that they are actually working.
Our conventional way of measuring an employee’s efficiency is to see how many hours they are sitting at their desk although, as we know, this is not an accurate indicator of how much work is actually getting done.
It’s not always easy for businesses to measure ‘output’ and so, instead, ‘input’ is often focused on as the performance metric.
For example, if somebody does the same amount of work in four days as it takes another to do in six days, then it may be the latter that is best received as they worked all week, and even put in a day at the weekend. This is a way of thinking that is difficult to shift in the workplace.
In the early stages of any work from home initiative there will always be the people that get busy ‘looking busy’ by setting up lots of virtual meetings and leading group email discussions (the ‘virtual’ equivalent of shuffling paper and talking loudly within ear-shot of the right people), but when things settle down; the work has to be done and our individual contributions will need recording.
Working from home can feel isolating and it can be unsettling if the expectations of us are not clear, but by taking time to understand the ways which your performance will be measured you’ll be giving yourself and your boss a gauge with which to determine your own contribution and value.
This should enable you to have a much clearer understanding of what is expected of you, some objective accountability, plus some targets to beat – now that you know where the benchmarks are!
From ‘How to work from home better’, by Aarron Dann Copyright © 2020