As she left for her own (pretty long) commute home, Jessica had a lot on her mind.
Cloud communications. Employee morale. Company policy.
She was convinced, and even excited, for Annie. She always worked hard and was dependable, and she even came in on Saturdays on occasion because she could get so much more work done when there weren’t others around to distract her. Jessica knew Annie would thrive in a virtual office environment. And when she was honest with herself, she believed she would do almost anything to keep her on board.
As a supervisor, Jessica hated the fact that it often fell on her to be sure people were getting their work done, not wasting time on the clock, reporting their time accurately and fulfilling their purpose as part of her time.
And yes, of course, it was also her responsibility to be sure her people were happy so they would do all of the above. The last thing she wanted from her team was for her best people to start looking for a new job with better pay, more flexibility, and a more attractive position.
There wasn’t a ton she could do about pay – annual reviews often ended with the best raise she could offer and those who didn’t earn a pay increase weren’t really the ones she was as concerned with keeping.
However, there was something she could do about morale, flexibility and employee retention.
Annie just requested it.
This is going to cause controversy.
This is going to cause jealousy.
This is going to create so many more meetings for me.
Maybe I could work from home as well…
Jessica didn’t question the value of the remote work environment. She knew a lot about how the big companies were making part-time and full-time remote work a reality, and she’d read plenty of case studies about how valuable the efforts to improve morale were to the success of a company.
But still…convincing the other owners to be okay with letting Annie work remotely may be a challenge.
It’s not about Annie, though. It’s about all the others. We can’t just let everyone do it, but those who want to will be so upset if they can’t and she can.
Jessica thought about her conversation with Annie again. She did bring up this concern, and really it was her only major concern. The others.
The technology would be easy. Annie told her all about how easy and seamless cloud communications would be, as well as project management and online document collaboration. In fact, Jessica was getting really excited about learning more on this front.
But the others…
She remembered the conversation from their meeting.
“Annie, I think this is a great idea and it would clearly benefit both your career and your personal life. My only concern is how to present this to the other owners and the rest of the company, as there are surely a ton of people who would love to work from home. We don’t want it to seem like you are getting special treatment, and we can’t easily say that it’s because you have proven yourself to us and require less supervision than most of them.”
Annie had an answer. I should just trust my instinct that she was right. She’s usually right:
“Why not, Jessica? Isn’t that what you should say to show them what you expect from your employees? If they don’t fit that description, yet they would also love to be able to work remotely, maybe you would be setting a bar for those willing to reach it and be rewarded with the trust and privilege to go virtual.”
Jessica had always been on the fence about raising the bar on her employees’ trust and productivity, but some of the younger, more social ones definitely had some things to work on.
Maybe the “social” part is the problem.
Maybe we could treat the remote work option as a perk that must be earned.
Maybe we SHOULD raise the bar.
Jessica felt like she just had a breakthrough. She was ready to set up a meeting with the owners.