8 Tips for Evaluating Telework

Increasing numbers of today’s employees are working from home, which can make employee assessments more difficult. Instead of using your old standards of evaluation for telecommuters, use the opportunity to update your evaluation process for all employees.

Using the right standards across the board allows managers to evaluate performance effectively for all employees and provides insight for future success. Consider these tips for making the most out of telecommuter evaluations:

  1. Use a consistent template for performance evaluations: Use as much of the traditional office review template as you can when reviewing telecommuting employees, but remove factors that you can’t measure for remote workers and add unique factors that this type of work environment creates.
  1. Look at reliability: When an employee works from home or another location, companies need to know they can count on the individual to complete tasks on time and to remain available for certain hours of the day. Those who are chronically late or who consistently fall behind with their workloads may need a different work arrangement to succeed with the company.
  1. Does the individual have an appropriate workspace? An employee may do some jobs well from any location that has an internet connection. However, others may need a distraction-free environment for phone calls and videoconferences in their workspaces.
  1. Is the individual too isolated? In some cases, telework can lead to feelings of isolation and depression. Working outside an actual office may mean less face-time and more hours working alone. Make sure that you consider team communication channels and ways to make a telework environment more balanced.
  1. Is the quality and level of output consistent with company goals? This standard most closely follows traditional views of the workspace. A telecommuting employee should keep a certain level of productivity to maintain a successful status as a remote worker. Managers may have difficulty determining reasons for changes in productivity and the quality of work in remote workers.
  1. Are there any drawbacks to teleworking that you cannot effectively address? Take time to look at potential drawbacks to the telecommuter setup and discuss these factors with teleworkers regularly. Make sure that each feels comfortable reaching out for assistance, and provide each individual with support as necessary. A remote manager often has the difficult job of trying to gauge employee perspectives with a limited understanding of the employee.
  1. Conduct the evaluation in person if possible: If you can conduct a teleworking performance review in a face-to-face meeting, then do it. Seeing an employee’s reactions and having in-person contact will always be different from talking on the phone or videoconferencing.
  1. Streamline work processes between in-office and remote workers: If you manage a mixed team, make sure that communications and other processes are consistent across the board. Having access to unified collaboration tools can improve worker productivity, regardless of location, and may facilitate a manager’s ability to log employee activities for review.

A customized performance review template can help you review the performance of your telecommuting team.

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