Employees aren’t the problem. They’re the solution, says Rebekah Metts-Childers.
"Trust, at a personal level, is like love and hate: you tend to get back what you put out. You empower what you fear. Those afraid of getting burned are the most likely to get burned. This works at a corporate level too. I remember vividly the convenience store chain that gave monthly lie detector tests to store managers to prevent theft—and then wondered why the theft kept on happening."
— Charles Green, co-author of "Trusted Advisor"
Across the country, school administrators are wrestling with how to create a full-day curriculum for remote learners, to mirror the average school day. But is that really necessary? Is school fundamentally a way to keep children occupied and collect grades? Or is its purpose to cultivate curiosity and teach our future generations to be ready to adjust and succeed for the future—one that doesn’t look anything like today?
The same questions apply to working from home. Until the pandemic struck, the average office practiced an informal keeping-of-tabs even in the absence of time clocks. “Joe isn’t in today” translated loosely to “Joe’s taking the day off.” To be seen at one’s desk mattered, even if one occupied oneself there with online explorations of potential vacation spots.
Now, office workers in America and across the world are working from home, and generally speaking the results are surprising. The technology really does work. More surprising still, employees really do work, perhaps harder than ever. In fact, much of the data points to productivity increasing, happiness increasing and hiring managers feeling that remote working has gone better than expected.
Even so, mindsets are slow to change. Many reopening plans are working to establish how remote working can mirror the average workday. And to measure and track against it. You don’t have to search far to find articles about promising new surveillance technology that can record keystrokes, mouse movements, employee workflow, monitor online activity, even keep a video log of the seat in front of the laptop. Too bad for the professional who does her best thinking while pacing.