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How do I know if my team is actually working?
They might still be in their pajamas at 2 PM, munching on popcorn and watching YouTube. How do I know if they're flaking out? How can we get real work done? How can I manage them?
Well, for one thing, you need to be working with people you trust. Everyone wants to make a contribution. Everyone wants to be valued. So, for starters, make it about getting the work done, not when and how people do it.
One of the great books on this topic is Jason Fried's "Remote: Office Not Required". Basecamp's team has been working remotely almost as long as we have at FreeAssociates. He's got some great ideas, too.
I got this from Seth Godin this morning and it seems to answer the question above perfectly.
There are three ways to tell if people are hard at work in an office:
- the boss can watch them go to meetings. And they can watch each other in meetings as well.
- the boss can watch them sit at desks in an open office.
- we can make promises to each other and then keep them.
It seems as though only the third one is a useful, long-term way to allow us to do our best work together. The first two can help along the way, but if a meeting or an open office exists as a convoluted way to do surveillance, you’re probably wasting precious energy and trust.
And while transferring our work to home makes #1 even easier and #2 irrelevant, I’m still lobbying for #3.
This is SO against our principles at FreeAssociates. it's one of the reasons we work the way we do, and we don't see any reason to go down this path if a company hires decent people.
We think managers who surveil their home workers are going to be in for a lot of trouble — perhaps legally, but especially from the standpoint of simple productivity and trust. This seems nuts: