Karen Beaman, LiveOps Director, Agent Acquisition & Onboarding, originally posted this article on BlogHer.com to share her thoughts on what to look for in a company when considering work-from-home careers.
There continues to be a lot of discussion around Marissa Mayer’s decision to pull Yahoo staff out of their homes and back into the office. Critics cite studies showing that people are happier and more productive working at home. Marissa and her supporters say that pulling employees physically together is better for collaboration and innovation.
In the end this probably comes down to company culture and how well a company supports work-from-home careers.
In some organizations, work-from-home is a euphemism for taking a day off and being available only via email. That can discourage people from including and collaborating with remote staff since they may feel as if they are intruding on personal time, and it can create a culture where people who work from home are not held to the same standards of accountability.
This undermines the benefits of working from home and makes it difficult to transition from a day or two at home to a work-from-home career.
In my opinion, people looking for work-from-home careers should seek out companies that focus on the following:
- Accountability – Management at all levels of the company should be comfortable setting work expectations and holding staff accountable for completing tasks on time regardless of location.
- Communication – Remote workers need to be easily accessible to one another and to people working in the office. Real-time chat, phone, email, video-conferences, virtual meetings, online communities, and other tools are critical for keeping remote workers connected.
- Inclusion – Remote workers should be included in office activities, staff meetings, team meetings, and conversations relevant to their work. In some companies people who work from home can feel forgotten, which makes it difficult to work effectively.
Initially, it may take extra effort to find a company that has the corporate culture to support work-from-home careers, but more and more companies are recognizing the benefits of allowing people to work from home – increased productivity; reduced employee turn-over; access to a wider pool of talent; cost-savings.
LiveOps has been a pioneer in work-from-home opportunities for over 14 years. They offer a supportive culture and incredible opportunities for both work-from-home employees and for their community of over 20,000 independent call center agents who work from home as independent contractors.