Remote Task Force – Who they are

Ever since COVID 19 has forced everyone indoors, more and more companies are allowing employees to work at home.

Well here’s a little trick …. The secret of managing your WFH employees lies in understanding who they are and what drives them.

As the CHRO of your company, your biggest challenge is perhaps  managing your remote task force or remote employees.

Read more about Flexible Human Resource Management

The first question you should be asking yourself as the HR head of your company is – Why would an employee want to work from home? – apart from being forced by the pandemic lockdown of course.

Time to share another secret … Your employees can be more productive working from home because they save loads of time and energy by not travelling back and forth.

With this background, here is a tongue in cheek account of the different types of #WFH workers.

Apart from this basic need to save time and energy, it is important to remember that every employee is an individual first and foremost – as such it is probable that he may be working outside his comfort zone at the workplace. When he works from home however, he can be within his (or her) comfort zone and hence work more efficiently and productively – ask any homemaker – man or woman mom or dad.

The Home Office Spider (HOS)

Spider because he weaves his web from his “home office.” This type of worker sets up an office within his home and usually works fixed hours.

The HOS is the perfect choice for CHROs seeking employees who can work fixed shifts from home.

Because the employee works in an office, he is less likely to be distracted or disturbed during his work hours. The HOS may come on board your regular payroll or he may be on contract or a freelancer.

The Butterfly

No don’t think women – it’s sexist. This type of worker would like to flit in an out of your office at his or her convenience. Why? Well because although they cannot work the full 9 to 5 shift, they can spare a few hours – typically 2 to 3 hours – to pop in for directions, updates, and what have you.

Employees who can visit office occasionally, are good for handling bulk work which you can offload at regular intervals with clear instructions

The Bug

Some people like to work around their family’s schedule – perhaps they have an ailing senior citizen or a small baby to care for – and therefore prefer to have their work offloaded and work at a time convenient to them. This gives them the freedom to work whenever they have time. Such employees consider it their birthright to refuse work on a particular day when they may have an extra workload at home – or simply want to take the day off.

Flexi-Bugs are good for one-off requirements – such as designing a logo or entering data and other non-urgent task which you are ready to wait on.

The Owl

Apart from night shifts at call-centers, there are work-from-homers who prefer to work through the night – it’s more peaceful and less distracting – and rest during the daylight hours. Such employees prefer to have their work offloaded to them just before you leave your office. The problem with such employees is that you may get an unpleasant surprise when you come back to work the next day.

Delegating fixed daily tasks – such as updating logs – works well for the night owl – be sure to give clear instructions and follow it up with a phone call

The Weekender

Like the night owl who works through the night, the weekender prefers to work weekends only – perhaps because he is moonlighting – or has a weekend support system to manage the home. The weekend work – they are free anyway – brings in the extra buck that affords them a luxury or two. Here again, they prefer the work to be offloaded on Friday before you leave with a promise to have it ready by Monday morning.

Delegate time consuming jobs like designing or writing content to the weekender – it gives you a breather.

The One-Offer

Such employees work only when they have the time. They are committed to their home and family and will work only when they can spare the time from this full time occupation. In case you are wondering, let me tell you, caring for a family and managing the home is no mean task.

Such individuals are good for a specific task, to which they will do full justice, once they agree to take it up.

The Regulars

Every so often, your regular employee who usually works out of the office, may request a work-from-home because of certain special circumstances like maternity – or paternity – illness – either their own or that of a family member, or other similar situations where it becomes difficult for them to commute to work. Such people continue to be on your payroll and do the work they always do, the only difference being that they would now work on their laptop at home instead of in the office.

Regular staff who work from home occasionally, remain on your payroll continuing to fulfill their daily responsibilities.

No matter the type of employee, as HR manager, it falls upon you to manage them as well as managing the regular office staff. Fortunately, there are a number of tools and tricks to help you do this.

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