The 7-Word Rule for Remote Work Privilege - American Society of Employers - Mary E. Corrado

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The 7-Word Rule for Remote Work Privilege

Elon Musk recently met with the staff of twitter and during that meeting he talked about his 7-word rule for working remote – “if somebody is exceptional at their job.”

I think this rule has a lot of validity, after all, working remote remains a privilege, not a right. Since COVID, I think many employees now view remote work as a right – something all employees, no matter their performance, should be able to do. But not everyone’s job is ideally suited for remote work and not all employees thrive with remote work.

As an organization, employers should have their own unique set of standards that employees must meet to earn the right to work remote. I agree that they should be the top performing, exceptional employees.  It requires somewhat of an entrepreneurial spirit to remain motivated and productive while working virtually.

At ASE I often refer to many of our employees as “lone rangers.” By this I mean that they are the only one doing their particular job and don’t necessarily collaborate on a daily basis. For this reason, many ASE employees are able to work remotely – and the fact we have exceptional employees, many with a tenure of 20+ years!

When assessing your employees for remote work, consider the following:

  • The scope of work – Is the position client facing? Is the position part of a larger team or mostly independent? Does the location of work affect the outcome?
  • Seniority – Trust builds over time, so seniority can play a role in determining remote work eligibility. Pre-COVID, ASE required all new employees to work in the office the first 90 days of their employment.  This was beneficial, since at that time most employees were working three days in the office and only two remotely.
  • Exceptionalism – This is where Elon Musk’s rule comes in…is the employee exceptional? Remote work should remain a privilege – not an expectation. The best employees earn the right to work remote by performing to the best of their ability no matter the situation or where they are working. They are consistently going above and beyond and are highly productive.

Most importantly, organizations should set their own unique standards that employees must meet in order to work remote.  Step one is to create a policy that can be objectively put in place and used across the organization to evaluate eligibility for remote work. Download a sample policy here.

How do you evaluate remote work eligibility? Email me at [email protected].


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