2020 hindsight! It’s the year that has torn up everything we know about the world of work and got us to start thinking again. One of the key aspects to emerge is that remote working CAN work! Yes indeed, who knew? Well actually, there was quite a lot of research on the many benefits of remote working and flexible working – but Managers were unfortunately, pretty resistant. There’s a well worn list of the reasons why; but this one usually tops the list (even if it’s not often overtly stated).
I don’t trust that my team are actually working from home
Most of the other issues can be resolved through good processes:
- Health and safety
- Collaboration / teamwork
- Home office
- Privacy/security issues
- IT issues
But trust is a tricky one to overcome through process/procedures.
Covey’s The Speed of Trust suggests that trust has two components – character and competence.
Character is made up of two elements – integrity and intent.
According to Covey, integrity is more than just honesty. It’s walking the talk, being congruent inside and out and having the courage of your convictions.
“Intent is our motives, agendas and resulting behaviour. Just grows when the motives are straightforward and based on mutual benefit; when we care not only for ourselves but the people we interact with, lead or serve.”
Competence is made up capabilities and results.
Capability is pretty straightforward. It’s our talents, attitudes, skills, knowledge and style. In other words – do we know what and how to do we are meant to do?
Results is about getting stuff done – having a track record that achieves. Delivering what we say we will do.
What’s causing the distrust?
When Managers say that they don’t trust someone to be working from home – dig deeper..
Digging deeper is key. Is it the employee that the Manager doesn’t trust? Or the principle of working from home?
- Is it a credibility or competence issue?
- If it’s a credibility issue – can they be clear on what’s causing them to believe that?
- Competence isn’t going to change whether someone is at work or at home, so if there’s a competence issue whilst working from home, perhaps that is a broader issue that needs resolving.
- Does the person know with absolute clarity what they need to be doing at home? Actually, full stop – not just at home.
- What is the single most important thing that they need to focus on during this period in order to succeed?
- Is the Manager concerned about the employee’s personal circumstances and the employee’s ability to manage those? Are there kids at home, and the Manager thinks the employee is playing with the kids rather that working?
- If it’s an issue of motivation or lack of engagement – has the Manager dug deeper to understand what is going on? Is it really a lack of motivation or is it stress around broader issues that’s affecting the employee’s ability to effectively work?
- Sometimes, it’s a projection of how the Manager works. There are some people for whom working from home really doesn’t work. They find the lure of the TV or home maintenance or any other of the million available procrastinations to be overwhelming. If the Manager believes the this to be true of themselves, they often project this onto their employees as well.
It’s true that there are some situations and some people where working from home or remote working really doesn’t work – but for the vast majority it really really does. There are so many benefits for both the organisation and the employee – so getting to grips with the resistance can only mean good things for all.
Want some more reading?
- The Neuroscience of Trust
- This page is a treasure trove of articles and guides on remote working and resilience available here.
- Working from home during COVID-19
If the above has whetted your appetite, and you’re keen for more.. Here are some ideas:
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