Over the years many blogs and comments have encouraged bosses to 'trust homeworkers and manage their results rather than the hours they are working'. But if this was so easy why weren't we letting people work from home before now?
Well, because many roles don't have obviously identifiable results that can be easily targeted or measured. In contrast, if you're in the office and finish an activity then I may think you have some spare capacity and give you something else to do! It's this VISIBILITY word that comes up time and time again when we talk about how to manage performance, particularly when it comes to remote working.
Let's test this a bit - if RESULTS are so easy to identify and manage then which of these meet the definition of a good result?:
- Run ten workshops
- Produce documentation
- Put together and present an action plan
- Implement a new system
- Update content on the website
The answer - none of them, even though you may have thought one or two do. Results we expect are the things that then get us a "well-done". What if I did these five tasks above horrendously and badly! You wouldn't call that a good result would you? So I need to go further then just managing what are currently worded as ACTIVITIES.
How about: Put together and present an action plan.... that is signed off/agreed by others with no more than a couple of amendments by Aug 31st? That sounds more like a well-done result, doesn't it?
Many people are fans of the OKR business/priority planning mechanism favoured by Google and the like. The R stands for Result, but a website I recently reviewed which is selling the OKR process had three out of the five items above listed as desired key results! So apparently OKR isn't that easily understood or used either.
So, yes we need to talk in terms of results and outcomes if full or part homeworking is to be successful. And we need to be clear on what good actually looks like in an observable, indisputable and factual way. That way everyone is on the same page.
How are you getting on with managing results/outcomes/outputs?