Personality & Motivation. Know your employees
It is not possible to draw a clear line between those employees who are suitable for remote work and those who are not. Our individual personality and motivation have a great influence on our actions and thus decisively determine whether working from home is a suitable alternative for us. Employees who particularly appreciate working with their colleagues and who feel a strong sense of belonging may prefer regular presence work. However, especially performance-motivated employees may quickly notice that the concentration in their own four walls is significantly better than in the office. This is especially beneficial for those whose day-to-day work is predominantly characterized by particularly demanding tasks. The more complicated a task is, the higher is the level of self-discipline one needs in order to accomplish it. However, our cognitive resources for self-regulation are limited. If we have to deal with a challenging work environment, for example in the form of noise or unnecessary meetings, while carrying out a demanding job, the process of self-exhaustion is much faster. As a result, our willpower to cope with work is diminishing, our productivity decreases and we feel exhausted. This is just one of many examples in which re-mote work can be a very good alternative for the individual employee.
Role Conflicts – The underestimated burden
Of course, not every employee can be guaranteed a quiet working atmosphere at home. What about employees with children, for example? For family fathers and mothers, their little ones are often the strongest argument for and at the same time against working from home. Several families were put to the test during the corona lockdown and have drawn their own conclusions from this experience. Max Buddenbohms‘ tweet probably hit the nail on the head for many parents: „I would like to carefully summarize my complex thoughts on the subject of remote work in connection with household, home schooling, education and mental health of all those involved in one word: No.“The pandemic will (hopefully) end at some point, most schools and daycare centers are already open again. For many parents, working from home then represents a tempting alternative. In this case, managers are responsible for developing individual approaches together with their employees on the basis of understanding and trust. Because even if regular care for the little ones is guaranteed again, role conflicts are still a major problem for many pa-rents. But denying reliable and ambitious employees the opportunity to work from home for this or similar reasons will not only reduce the motivation and satisfaction of these employees, but will also increase the likelihood of them handing in their resignation.
Fairness – For the sake of a positive work climate
Another fundamental factor that can determine the success and failure of the expansion of remote work in companies is the perceived fairness to the individual parties. Managers need to keep an eye on potential sources of interference: Who is allowed to work from home when the company‘s structure allows only a limited number of home-based jobs to be offered? What are the criteria for deciding on this? Is the selection process transparent, traceable and consistent? Is there a negative impact if one employee is allowed to work from home? To maintain a good working environment and the satisfaction of the individual team members, these and other questions must be taken into account and build the foundation for the development of a functioning concept. Otherwise, companies accept that the intrinsic motivation of their employees will decline, the loyalty to the employer will diminish and the willingness to perform will be reduced.