Johnny, tell them what they've won!
Letters from the Home Working Front Vol. 4
One of the challenges for executives managing at-home workers is the difficulty of inspecting productivity. How do we know we are getting our money’s worth out of people we can’t see? I would say the same thing about an executive who sits behind in an office behind a closed door ten hours a day, but that’s a topic for my exit interview.
While the executives have the concern, it is the worker who should be sensitive to the visibility issue. It’s fairly easy to alleviate any doubt and improve your internal profile.
The first step is to lay out what you plan to accomplish in a given period of time, share those goals with your manager and team, and then update your progress. This can also put a little pressure on others to do the same, raising the performance of the whole team. A second measure is to request opportunities to speak with your manager or other visible, relevant people in the organization to discuss meaningful topics. Meaningful topics should be meaningful to the other person and the business as a whole, not just to you. For example, while your income is an important topic, it is not an item that will demonstrate how productive you are in an at-home office environment. However, your income situation should be a positive byproduct of this visible approach. The third step, which applies to any employ, is to volunteer for short term assignments, or to perhaps lead a short term ad-hoc team. None of these actions are particularly time-intense and all of them speak to your commitment to the organization’s success.
Today there are multiple ways to bring attention to your productivity. Tweet events or developments that relate to the business and make sure the right folks are followers. Make sure that any suggestions you raise have a business case and, more importantly, are aligned with company goals. For example, I think having a soft-ice cream machine in the break room is an awesome motivator, but might not be aligned with the goals of a physician’s office or a gym. Most importantly, make sure you are actually doing the things you claim to be doing. These activities shed light on your contribution, but also invite inspection. Passing that inspection enhances your reputation for the long haul. Failing the inspection will inspire future inspections and doubt about your value.