Born to Telework

June 12, 2012

Does your DNA have “teleworker” encoded into the strands?  Some employees are seemingly born to telework.  It’s like their personalities, work habits, values, integrity and ethics are programmed to successful telework arrangements.  They are the employees who give “telework” a good name.

Generally speaking, these “successful” teleworkers value their flexible work arrangements and are committed to doing a good job at work, even when work is from a home office, an airport waiting area or Starbucks.  Location doesn’t distract them from their primary goal during the workday: doing the job they get paid to do.  Of course, though flexibility is one of the perks of telework (e.g., walking the dog during a mid-morning coffee refill) employees who are successful teleworkers understand that there is a line not to be crossed.  It’s the line the separates the joys and benefits of telework, namely flexibility, with careless or intentional abuse of the flexible work arrangement (e.g., mixing work and childcare responsibilities during work hours beyond what is customary for employees).  Taking advantage of the telecommuting arrangement, the employer, the boss, co-workers….the whole enchilada!  

While there’s certainly a full spectrum of performers, regardless of whether an employee works from home or is stuck inside four corporate walls, some employees simply make better teleworkers than others.  Some make totally awesome teleworkers.  It’s not that employees are categorically either good or bad teleworkers, it’s just some are more suited to telework.  Some are more capable, more reliable, more trustworthy, more ethical and more appreciative of what they’ve got than to blow it all, especially on something unethical like fudging timesheets, irresponsibly showing up late or not at all because something non-work related vies for their work-day attention, or skimping on after school childcare.  Some are born to telework.

So, how do you know if you are born to telework–or if your employee is well suited to a telecommute arrangement?  Here are a few clues:

-Independent nature; works well with a hands-off approach

-Past telework success–even to the point of “overachieving” (e.g., “extra” hours, proven availability, exceptional responsiveness)

-Proven performance

-Self-motivated, self-monitoring, organized & disciplined

-Good communication skills

-Good understanding of own strengths, weaknesses & job expectations

-Finds comfort in the home or alternative work environment to work productively

-Confidence to know when to ask for help or guidance from bosses, peers or clients

-Wants to work–even loves, loves, loves to work!

-The “right kind” of boss.  Psst….bosses…the kind of boss you are matters…are you flexible in nature? Does your personality and management style allow you to trust your employee and confidently manage with a loose grip?

Are you born to telework?  Why or why not?  Weigh in below….

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