Performance Reviews in the New Era of Remote Workers
Written by Jeff Hughes, on August 23, 2021
It’s no secret that the pandemic has permanently changed the way how and where people work. Many companies are or will soon offer hybrid work arrangements for those who can effectively work remotely. Others have shut their physical offices completely and gone 100% virtual. It all sounds good on paper, but not everyone is totally on board with this growing trend.
In a recent survey, 64% of managers believe that office-based workers are higher performers than those who work from home. But, as it turns out, even though the data point to a different conclusion… full-time remote workers are very often more likely to be high performers than their office-housed counterparts.
Several studies over the past few months show productivity while working remotely from home is better than working in an office setting. On average, those who work from home spend 10 minutes less a day being unproductive, work one more day a week, and are 47% more productive.
A study by Standford of 16,000 workers over 9 months found that working from home increases productivity by 13%. This increase in performance was due to more calls per minute attributed to a quieter more convenient working environment and working more minutes per shift because of fewer breaks and sick days.
77% of those who work remotely at least a few times per month show increased productivity, with 30% doing more work in less time and 24% doing more work in the same period according to a survey by Connect Solutions.
Since many managers still believe that office workers are more productive, could it happen that those who work in the office may be unfairly rewarded at the expense of those who work remotely?
We have found the best way for companies to evaluate the productivity of their workers is through active, regular, and objective measurement and discussion of performance. Not through endless formal performance reviews, but by a simpler, and easier way to evaluate the value of employees’ day-to-day contributions.
If your business is operating with an overall business plan, then more objectivity can be brought to bear. But matching a single worker’s performance in terms of that company-wide plan if is difficult if not impossible if done without clearly stated ground rules.
To solve this problem, many of our clients use a simple cloud-based One Page 90-Day Planning Tool. It allows them to easily keep track of how an employee or manager is performing concerning what is expected of them. People are either meeting or exceeding the requirements of their job or they are not. Periodic review of monthly results is core to finding this objectivity.
The tool is easy to set up and use and can be employed face-to-face or with remote employees since it is a cloud-based application.
Here’s how it works…
The manager and employee agree on a set of measurable tasks related to accomplishing the objectives of the company’s overall business plan. Each month the manager and employee connect online to review the employee’s timely completion of the work to be done.
This approach to management will clearly identify who is most effective in meeting their assigned goals. And that should be part of the basis of an employee’s performance review and any salary increases for which they qualify as a result of that performance.
In other words, whether or not they work remotely will no longer be an issue…
This is particularly important since many women have been more adversely affected by the pandemic than men when it comes to employment status. As a result, these women may opt to work from home more than men. Since there can be a significant disparity in the wages paid to men and women, in favor of men, this more objective approach to evaluating performance can help level the paycheck playing field over time, at least in organizations that value gender equality in the workplace.
The 90-Day Plan works because both parties participate in the monthly and quarterly goal setting and review. The employee knows where they stand because the manager is forthcoming with praise or negative criticism related to the work accomplished. It’s all above board and documented in writing.
The pandemic was and still is a change agent in the workplace… where ever that workplace may be. And a better documented, periodic review of performance will prove or dispel the notion of productive productivity of those who work in the office versus those who work remotely!