Another question that came out during a meeting with federal workers about to implement telework: should supervisors telework/telecommute?
My answer: Absolutely. Most definitely. Yes.
- Lead by example. How can you expect your employees to take your organization’s telework policies seriously if you aren’t teleworking? This applies to any organizational policy or initiative. Insert your favorite cliché here: practice what you preach, walk the walk, eat your own dog food, whatever. It all holds true. Your employees will look to you for guidance, and they will watch what you do, not what you say. This doesn’t mean you have to work remotely or from your home office 100% of the time, just be the first to do it and do it on a regular basis to provide the right example.
- Understand what your employees go through. It can be beneficial to get a healthy perspective of what your teleworkers go through on a daily basis. Understand what the challenges are, what works, and what doesn’t. It can also help erase any misperceptions you have about teleworking. You’ll be able to relate better to your teleworking employees.
- Reap the benefits for yourself. Why should your employees be the only ones that improve their work-life balance, job satisfaction, and productivity? Why can’t you do the same? As a supervisor that has managed others remotely, I can attest to the personal benefits of teleworking. Once you get over the initial discomfort of working in a new environment and not being directly in front of your employees, you may end up enjoying the new work arrangement and wondering why you didn’t try it sooner.