A recent survey of executives found that many corporate managers are still clinging to the outmoded idea that the employees who put in the most face time are the ones that should be promoted. 78% of managers agreed that those working remotely were just as productive as other employees (if not more so), but 61% said that telecommuters were less likely to advance in their careers than those working in a traditional office setting. Read more about the survey.
Are older managers just having a hard time letting go of the old rule book or is there a legitimate reason that telecommuters don’t get the respect they deserve? Maybe it’s that horrible name, telecommuters. It’s a term that sounds like it was coined by futurists in the early 1980s. Maybe it’s just me.
So why is face time still so important in the corporate world? For old-school executives, managing telecommuters can be a challenge. Micromanagers probably hate the idea of telecommuting on principle. When managing telecommuters, there is more pressure on the boss to hire the right people and be clear about job responsibilities and expectations. If you want telecommuters to be productive, you have to actually manage effectively. Radical concept.
As telecommuting becomes more and more common, executives will have to step up and get comfortable with different management styles. Interestingly, 48% of the executives that responded to the survey said that they would personally consider taking a job that involved telecommuting on a regular basis.
Of course, there is also something to be said for the “out of sight, out of mind” concept. It’s easier to form real bonds with people that you actually see face-to-face on a regular basis. Telecommuters that want to be promoted need to understand that and compensate for it.
Tips for Telecommuters that Get No Respect
- Try to visit the office on a regular basis and to be there for key meetings and social events.
- When you do stop by the cube farm, make the most out of it. Take the boss to lunch and make a point of visiting colleagues in person. Get as much team bonding out of your limited face time as you can.
- When you’re working remotely, make a point of staying visible through email, IM, and phone. You’ll find plenty of opportunities for virtual team bonding.
- Make sure you promote yourself and your accomplishments so everybody knows that you’re not just sitting around watching paternity tests on daytime TV.