According to a 2013 Bank of Montréal poll, 47% of large businesses and 22% of small businesses offer some kind of telecommuting option. Flexible work arrangements are seen as a way to entice new staff to join and keep top performers in the fold. And while many employees would like to work remotely, not everyone can flourish in a telecommuting environment.
Benefits to Telecommuting
The same Bank of Montréal poll found the following benefits for those businesses that offered employees a chance to telecommute:
- 65% stated that employee productivity was positively impacted
- 58% reported an improved quality of work from remote employees
- 64% said that telecommuting had a positive impact on morale and their ability to retain staff
- Over 50% found a reduction in overhead costs
Here’s how to know if an employee is ready to work remotely.
Trait #1: Drive and Motivation
An employee who consistently demonstrates initiative and self-motivation will likely transition well into a telecommuting environment.
Read “How to Assess Motivation in a Finance Interview” for insight into identifying those employees who are passionate, driven and highly self-motivated.
Trait #2: Ability to Prioritize
Does your employee show an ability to prioritize and develop a plan to get things done? If so, they’ll likely do well as a remote worker.
Trait #3: Strong Communicator
Not only should your employee demonstrate strong verbal communication skills, but also the ability to communicate effectively in writing. Let’s face it, you won’t be able to speak every day on the phone, so it’s important that your employee be able to tell you in writing what’s been done and what is still on the ‘to do’ list.
Trait #4: Naturally Autonomous
Team players are great, but a remote employee must be able to excel on their own. In other words, can they take direction and run with it, or are they constantly looking for guidance? Carefully assess their troubleshooting and problem solving ability. They’ll need to do both well.
Trait #5: Organizational Skills
A remote employee must be able to deliver under tight timelines without any of the external prompting that an office environment would naturally provide. This means that they must possess superior organizational skills. Does your employee consistently hit deadlines? Are they able to take a job or large project, break it down into manageable chunks and then execute? If so, you likely have a great remote worker on your hands.
Trait #6: Personal Accountability
Employees who hold themselves accountable for the quality of their work and admit to mistakes, (and then deliver a better result the next time), will have the internal motivation to succeed in a remote role.
Trait #7: Resourcefulness
Remote workers need to be adaptable and resourceful. Look for behavior that shows a passion for continuous learning, a solutions-focused mentality (which feeds resourcefulness) and a willingness to go the extra mile to get a job done.
An employee doesn’t have to work remotely 5 days a week. It’s possible to allow them to work from home periodically, or on a part-time basis. Those who flourish as a remote worker share key traits. They hold themselves to a high standard and naturally take the initiative. They’re resourceful and driven. They’re strong communicators, organized and gifted at prioritizing and planning. It makes sense for organizations to consider allowing its employees to telecommute. It’s just a matter of knowing who can be a remote worker and still deliver.
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