Are They Really Working?

How do I know they’re working?

This is a question I’ve been asked several times since we entered the work-from-home world. It’s a very revealing question – and my answer has two dimensions.

The easy one is the ‘process’ dimension. There are numerous ways to track log in and log out times, count keystrokes, count transactions, count phone calls and record websites visited, so if you need this level of control over your people, fill your boots.

But don’t expect this level of scrutiny to do anything good for morale or engagement.

The deeper dimension is the ‘culture’ dimension. Let me explain that.

By ‘culture’ I mean beliefs, values, the way you think, the kind of workplace you have. Every company has a culture and sometimes more than one. The key question – is it the right culture? Did you purposefully build your culture, or did it just happen?

Is it a culture of trust, respect, empowerment and accountability? Or is it a culture of distrust, control and criticism?

Here’s the key: culture drives process.

If they want to, there are countless ways your staff can cheat you out of a full day’s work, whether they’re working in the office or from home. If you are feeling uneasy and that your working-from-home staff are not trustworthy, then check your culture!

If your culture passes the sniff test, then maybe you have one or two bad apples in the barrel. Don’t paint your entire staff with the brush of distrust! Cull the bad apples.

In his book ‘Drive’, Daniel Pink provides a mountain of research that proves people do more and better work in a culture of autonomy and trust. If you have read this post and you’re still asking ‘How do I know they’re working’, read Pink’s book!