Nearly 18 months on, the dust has settled and the picture is clearer: Hybrid-working will be crowned as the 'new normal'. A few days in the office, a couple at home and combinations in-between. HR is busy getting its polices and approach together and many organisations are preparing for a return to the office from September.
But one thing is still a blocker to making it work really well: the visibility of RESULTS ACTUALLY BEING ACHIEVED.
Over the years many blogs and commentators have encouraged bosses to 'trust homeworkers and manage the results/outcomes rather than the hours they are working'. But if this is 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. What are the results expected of a receptionist for example?? 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! The focus becomes more about ACTIVITIES and STUFF! When working from home it is more effective to manage by Results - but only if we know what they are!
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 either.
So, yes we need to talk in terms of results and outcomes if full or part homeworking is to be long-term 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 to do this in practice? Well, we have all the answers in our upcoming webinar......