Regardless of how your company feels about working from home during the COVID era, the only way to make it work is to make it clear about the policy. That way, there is no gray area. Musk sent a direct company-wide email to employees of his company. I’ll show you an excerpt of it.
The subject line is “to be super clear”.
Everyone at the company is required to work 40 hours per week. The office needs to be where your actual colleagues are located. We will assume that you have resigned if you don’t show up.
The more senior you are, the more visible you should be. I lived in the factory so people on the line could see me working. If I had not done that, the company would have gone broke.
When was the last time a new product was shipped by the company? It has been a while since.
The most exciting and meaningful products of any company on Earth will be created and manufactured by Tesla. This won’t happen by calling in.
As an accounting firm, you can’t just say that you allow your team to work from home, you need to spell out exactly where and how you expect each of your employees to work. Telework is good for some roles, but an office setting is more practical. The majority of jobs fall into that murky gray area of high value knowledge work that requires client interaction and a lot of independent thinking.
Musk was very clear about the work-from- home policy.
Let’s look at each paragraph of Musk’s email and see what the objectives are.
It’s the first thing. Everyone at the company is required to work 40 hours a week. The real office is where your actual colleagues are located. We will assume you have quit if you don’t show up.
Provide a clear answer. It is clear what work-from- home means, what the office means, how many hours you are required to be there, and what happens if you don’t comply.
The older you are, the more visible you must be. I lived in the factory so that the people on the line could see me working. If I hadn’t done that, it would have been bankrupt.
Tell us the why. Whatever your policy is, you need to explain it to your staff. Even better, Musk makes it clear that he will follow in his footsteps. That is applicable to leaders of accounting firms.
There are 3 words. When was the last time a great new product was shipped by a company? It has been awhile.
If you don’t like the way it’s going, there are plenty of alternatives. You are free to explore, but here you will find what you are looking for.
The most exciting and meaningful products of any company on Earth will be created by the company. This won’t happen by calling it in.
Make sure the company’s mission statement is intact. It is what we do. Our core mission doesn’t align with working from home
There are four paragraphs that explain why the company is making a decision about where its employees work. The issue isn’t about working in the office or working from home, it’s about doing something you do, not a place you go. To measure, motivate and promote your remote team, you have to develop the right metrics. You have to address the core issue of your management style.
There are factories in the company. Goods that need to be built and made in a factory are sold. You must be on the factory floor with your co-workers to be a contributor. Accounting firms do not sell services. Roles and tasks can be done on their own, without the need for time in a traditional office. Collaboration is the best way to do other roles. Other roles need you to be with clients, not in an office cubicle or home office.
It’s important to be clear about your policy when you’re in the office, hybrid or fully remote. Complicated and conflict set in. What is it about working from home? What does entering the office mean? You have certain policies that you need to explain why. You need to explain how management is going to support it. You need to circle it back with your firm’s goal.
It was explained to employees that they needed to come in. There are other alternatives if you don’t like it.
You are not going to make everyone happy if you have two employees. Don’t be vague about your policy, why you have it, and why your leadership is behind it. Tie it all back to your mission statement. It’s possible that you’re not trying to change the accounting profession or establish offices on other planets. The happier and more productive your team will be if you eliminate the ambiguity from your policies.
What do you think of staff working from home? I would be happy to hear from you.